Growing up I was like any other kid, I loved Holidays! Of course, Christmas was my favorite, but Easter came in at a very close second. It didn’t matter that my older sister had spoiled the idea of Santa and the Easter Bunny when I was 4 years old, I still loved all the decorations, the food, the shopping and the anticipation of receiving a gift, even if it was from my parents.
For some reason, when I was about 7 years old, I loved wolves. I used to sit in my room and draw pictures of them. My most frequently drawn scene was of a large apple tree with the limbs weighted down with big red apples. The ground had bright green grass and the sky was a perfect blue with a large yellow sun. Next to the tree was a wolf standing upright like a man. He had a long snout and mouth with long sharp teeth. He always had an apple in his hand. It’s funny how I can still envision the picture even after several decades have passed. Because of my obsession with them, I desperately wanted a stuffed wolf for Easter. Not a bunny, or a chicken or a lamb. A wolf with big teeth!
I will never forget the look on my parents’ faces when I informed them of my choice. My dad chuckled but my mother started giving me a lecture about how hard it would be to find a stuffed wolf, and this was no kind of animal for a little girl. I think I blocked out the sound of her voice at this point as I knew these kinds of lectures could go on forever.
We had a family tradition of going to church on the Thursday night before Easter. Then on Friday after school, we would color hard-boiled eggs and put them in last year’s basket. On Saturday evening we would place the baskets outside for the “Easter Bunny” to hide them for us. Then on Sunday morning, we would rise before the sun came up and go to church for the sunrise service. We attended a church that had a drive-in church (like at the movies) in the side parking lot. So, we would pull up to one of the poles with a speaker, put it on the window, sing a few songs and listen to the sermon. Then we would drive home to search for eggs and have a big breakfast.
This year I had been sent home from school on the Wednesday before Easter. I was running a fever and the nurse insisted my mother take me to the doctors. Reluctantly, she took me straight to the doctor’s office. It came as a surprise that I had the Chicken Pox! The doctor gave us some Benadryl to help with the itching and some calamine lotion to put on the never-ending bumps that kept popping up. My mother was convinced that I had purposely caught them because I wanted to ruin Easter for everyone.
Obviously, we couldn’t attend church that weekend. In those days it was believed that you should not be exposed to sunlight if you had Chicken Pox because you could go blind. My mother put a thick blanket over the windows in my bedroom and I was stuck in there for what seemed like an eternity. When Easter morning came my dad came into the room and told me to be quiet and follow him. He took me outside to his truck and he reached in and pulled out a small stuffed wolf with big teeth! I was so happy I cried. He snuck me back inside and told me not to tell my mother or sister, it was our secret.
About an hour later my sister came in and said that I could come out to see what the Easter Bunny had brought. I had a basket of candy and a large pink rabbit waiting for me in the dining room. I was able to stay in the living room most of the day and eat lunch with the family. I talked my dad into letting me go outside for a couple of minutes so he could take a picture of me with my rabbit. I look at the photo today and see a little girl in her pajamas holding a big rabbit on her shoulders with a smile on her face thinking of the small stuffed wolf she had hidden under her mattress!
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.