Friday, March 2, 2007

Lent, Easter and Chocolate Bunnies

On one of the knitting lists to which I belong, members have been discussing Mardis Gras, the beginning of the Christian Lenten season and Easter Bunnies. This got me to reminiscing about being a child in WWII and Post War Germany and the traditions my mother's family (aunts, uncles, cousins) practiced.

One of the memories I have is coloring Easter eggs with my cousin Lisa. After we had colored the eggs, we would pour all the remaining dye into one container and color an egg for my uncle which we then would hide, usually in one of the ceiling lamps. My Uncle Emil would search for it Easter morning with gusto and lots of misses and near hits, drawing out the search to the delight of Lisa and me. He would gush over the expert coloring job we had done to which we, of course, giggled because he apparently didn't get the joke we thought we pulled on him. We would only color one egg for him because wasting food was not in our vocabulary. But oh the fun we had.

Then there is my recollection of an Easter egg hunt my Aunt Agnes, my cousin Sigrid and my mother cooked up. It must have been during the war or right after the end of the war. Our Easter egg hunt was during our Sunday afternoon walk in the forest (a tradition in itself in the Black Forest). Times were hard, but my aunt had chickens and, thus, eggs. The three of them must have colored only one egg which my cousin got to hide over and over again in the woods. I was allowed to search for the eggs, but each time I found one, I would put it back, ostensibly for the next child to find it. My aunt had told me that I would be able to keep the last egg I found since there were lots of children who would also be hunting for eggs and keeping more than one would be ill-mannered and greedy. Later in life, I realized that "all" the eggs were the same color. But I had lots of fun that afternoon and also learned a lesson in sharing.

Then there were the red sugar bunnies one could get at the local bakeries. Chocolate must not have been available as yet, but not having been exposed to chocolate, the sugar bunnies were the top.

Finally, there was the evening I announced to my mother (Mutti) that I no longer believed in the Easter Bunny. By then we had been assigned living quarters in an old converted farm house. While our kitchen, bed room, living room and dining room furniture were all in one giant room, it was a step up from the previous housing. Anna Nicole Smith had nothing on my mother when it came to procuring housing. But to get back to the end of the Easter Bunny, I was in bed pretending to be asleep while a neighbor woman was visiting my mother. Their conversation was more interesting than going to sleep. And then I heard my mother saying, "I still need to color an Easter egg for Renate." Of course, I had to pipe up saying "You don't have to do that, I don't believe in the Easter bunny any longer." My mother replied laughingly, "That child is still awake." I can't remember whether or not Mother actually colored eggs that Easter, but I do remember the end of the Easter Bunny.

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