Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. As a student at Holy Name during the 1970’s, I could not forget that.
To be honest, this young, red-headed boy was a slow learner.
What did it mean that Jesus is risen? I had no clue. What did Easter mean? Again, no idea…
Our family wasn’t very religious. Sure I attended a catholic grammar school, made our communion and confirmation, were required to attend mass every Sunday but I don’t recall mom instilling scripture into us. (Remember what would happen the next day at school if you missed mass?)
Lent, sacrifice, (what are you giving up?), Good Friday, no meat allowed so we usually had pizza or fishcakes and beans. Resurrection, New Life, Faith, St. Peter, and of course, candy.
Have to admit, I was scared in church. To be honest, I never wanted to go.
Dressing up for church was not something I enjoyed. The black dress shoes, wrinkled trousers and of course buttoned down white, dress shirt. (I actually wore white tube socks once)
The girls with their pretty dresses and shoes, plus a cute bow/ribbon laced through their hair.
Leaving my apartment and making a right I often walked up the avenue alone. The climb up the stairway to heaven was slower than most. I sat alone in the back row. I was tempted to stand in the back but I was once told to take a seat by a very mean man.
We sat through the extra long mass listening to the priest. I enjoyed the hymns during mass. I skipped communion. Too afraid to walk up and let everyone see me.
When they came around to collect money in the basket, I just sat there and looked straight ahead. I was broke. Nothing to contribute. Sorry…
To be honest, I was always thinking about the end; when I could get out. I had my mind on getting home and changing out of my clothes.
“The Mass is ended, go in peace…”
That was my cue where I would get up, exit the pew and race down the church stairs. Running down ninth avenue soon as I got home I changed into my jeans and sneakers and went to the schoolyard to play basketball. Or at least I tried. I usually got thrown out of the yard. We had to wait until the last mass was over before we could ball.
I’m sure many families spent time together eating a nice breakfast after mass at home or over at the Park House. If I was on the avenue today, I’d head to Terrace Bagel for a ham and egg on a toasted bagel and wash it down with a coffee, light and sweet.
Mom used to hide eggs around our apartment on Easter morning. My sister and I would search the five-room railroad flat clutching our empty straw baskets with one hand and moving things around with the other.
The night before I would watch mom in the kitchen boil the eggs and then we colored them. As we slept through the night she hid them.
Easter Sunday was a lot of fun. Not only would we color eggs at night and then hunt for them the following morning but in addition you’d get an Easter basket filled with delicious chocolate treats, (I loved malted milk balls), jelly beans and of course the sweet tasting chocolate marshmallow. I loved the “peeps” give me yellow or pink, didn’t matter.
At a young age I didn’t know much about chocolate except that it tasted good and it gave you a belly ache if you ate too much in one sitting. Something that was always a concern of mine when I was given an Easter basket; the chocolate bunny.
Was it hollow or solid? That was huge!
When you received the hollow one, you may have been a bit disappointed; I sure was. As soon as you bit into it, half the thing collapsed and all the pieces fell down to the bottom. With the solid bunny you dug your teeth into it and shaved off the chocolate.
On the other hand, with the solid bunny, usually that structure lasted a day or two – the hollow one, it was gone rather quickly.
Happy Easter to all!