Two Easter Stories
Lois Coslett Whitehead
The Easter season is upon us and I am reminded of
earlier Easter services and Sunday School at the Madison
Methodist Church , a rural country church located
about 8-9 miles east of Hamburg. The youth choir sang
for this special service as it did for many church
We practiced in the church basement with our choir
leader, Mrs. Robert (Evelyn) Birkby. She had the most
"amazing machine." It looked like a wooden
rectangular shaped box. She would open the ends and
then the other sides and part of it came up (I'm watching
her every move) and it magically became a portable
pump organ. It was so neat and I often wonder where
it is today,
The church looked so beautiful on Easter
Sunday. The ladies had it sparkling clean and lilies
decorated the sanctuary. There were more people there
than usual and after we sang Mrs. Birkby made us feel
like we had done a great job.
In Sunday School we heard stories about
Jesus, were told to "Love One Another" and
to remember that people with a different skin color
are just like us on the inside. You may think that
is a funny thing to say but remember this is the early
1950's. Things were so different we can hardly imagine.
Sometimes on Saturday nights my family
went to the neighbors to watch television. Mostly
we watched wrestling on a small black and white screen.
Remember Vern Gagne and Gorgeous George? We also watched
the commercials and remembered the jingles. One Sunday
on the way to church, my mother laughed as my sisters
and I sang, "From the land of sky blue waters,
Hamms, the beer refreshing, Hamms."
Our Easter party at Sedgwick country
school was always fun. Our teacher, Mrs. George (Elizabeth)
Leckenby asked us to each bring six boiled eggs to
school. She then mixed up food coloring with hot water
in cups and added a little vinegar which I thought
smelled good. We didn't have any stencils, magic pens,
or anything fancy to decorate them, just pure color.
I loved to color eggs; stirring them to get just the
color I wanted. We also marked our eggs with our initials.
We were then ready for our Easter egg
hunt. Mrs. Lectenby put all of the eggs in a white
enamel dish pan, pulled all of the shades down in
the schoolhouse and told us not to leave our seats
or peek out of the windows as she hid the eggs. We
were instructed to only pick up the eggs with our
initials on them and if we spotted another to just
leave it. . Do you think we minded her? Of course,
we loved Mrs. Leckenby.
The Easter bunny visited my house and left those brightly
colored candy eggs with a white filling and jelly
beans. All of our bedrooms were upstairs and my parents
room had a floral patterned linoleum on the floor.
Once on Easter I noticed for the first time there
were small marks or tiny scratches in one area of
this flooring. I was sure they were Easter bunny tracks.
Yes, I had a vivid imagination. Still do.
By Daisy Malcolm
Easter was a magical time for my large family. Spring
time was a season of rebirth on the farm. The fuzzy
little yellow chicks being kept warm in our kitchen
were a reminder of that as was the bunny that my younger
sister brought into the house with her on Easter Sunday.
The holiday was a joyous time, especially
since we had a vacation from school. On Saturday,
Mom would boil dozens of eggs, and we would dye them
all, dunking them into mugs of brightly colored water.
We'd transfer pictures from kits, and each person
in the family had one special egg with his or her
name on it.
On Sunday we'd go to church in Thurman
where we kids would present a program complete with
songs or skits. The women and most of the girls were
wearing new clothes, including hats and gloves for
the mothers. My sisters and I would wear the best
we had, but we were a family with 10 children, ours
weren't new. The Easter sermon always presented the
same story of death and resurrection, but no matter
how many times I heard it, I was always touched spiritually,
and my faith was reborn.
After the service we'd change from our
Sunday best before our all-family egg hunt. Each member
took part, and nobody complained about the activity.
Our property had a front lawn plus a higher hill area,
the two sections separated by a rock wall. The kids
had their eggs hidden on the lawn area, either in
plain sight or in more obscure locations depending
upon the age of the child. A favorite hiding places
each year was a hollowed-out crack in a huge tree
where occasionally an errant egg would hide until
it was found later because of its odor.
Mom was always the one hiding the eggs
for the hunt. She was a master at finding nooks and
crannies for those hidden treasures, discovering the
best spots to hide them for each child. For the adults
who had to hunt up on the hill, however, she was especially
amazing. At just over five feet tall, how she ever
hid those eggs in the upper branches of the trees
was miraculous to us. It seemed that if one of her
offspring had been mischievous recently, his or her
special egg adorned with the culprit's name would
magically be at the top branch of the highest tree
to be found before ending the hunt.
Then we'd all go inside for dinner,
occasionally with a ham, but more often we ate the
older relatives of those cute baby chicks. Mom had
scalded and plucked the feathers from their bodies
the day before then fried their cut-up pieces in two
electric skillets that day. Mashed potatoes and gravy,
a wide variety of other vegetables plus pie made a
wonderful meal for all of us. She really was amazing-creating
an egg hunt that interested all ages of participants,
steering us in our religious exploration at church
and feeding us all with a huge feast.
As I said before, Easter was a magical
time, and that spring holiday each year brought our
huge family together even more with games, religion