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Opinion: Memories of Easter

For The Madera Tribune

Joanne (Olivas) Ylarregui and columnist Tami Jo Nix, right, on Easter circa 1960 enjoying the sunshine in Art and Barbara Olivas’ front yard. The Olivas family lived across the street from Nix’s childhood home.


May you have a blessed Easter. Whatever this precious spring holiday means to you be it bunnies and eggs, the sacrifices of Christ, his crucifixion and his resurrection three days later or something else.

On the news this week I saw where people buy more Easter candy than Halloween sweets. Childhood egg hunts, Honey Baked Hams, family gatherings and a full house at church will be the order of the day on Sunday.

As a child, with my dad working at Quality Dairy, and with the eggs from our own chickens, it gave us plenty to color. My mother would boil a few dozen eggs and after they cooled we would color them.

Coloring kits with the little color tablets mixed with vinegar and warm water made for a messy craft project. The kits came with a white crayon although any color would work. They were used to draw flowers or other decoration on the eggs. Then when it was dipped in its vinegar bath the color didn’t adhere to the drawings.

I don’t like vinegar but smelling it always reminds me of coloring Easter eggs.

Since we lived in what then was considered the country, we usually hosted the Easter holiday. We would have as many as 15 cousins hunting eggs.

There was always one or more eggs not found for weeks after the holiday. A hard-boiled egg that has lain outside getting baked by the sun gets pretty ripe and smelly. I often wondered if my brothers hid these eggs just so they could have stink bombs later to throw at each other, or at me.

Easter was a special time to see out-of-town family. My mom’s brother J.B. Kirk and his family lived in Tulare. Aunt Bel’s parents lived in Marysville and they would stop by our house on their way home.

Grandmother and Grandfather Cook would always buy their grandchildren two-pound solid milk chocolate bunnies. That is a lot of candy.

Before she died when I was in third grade, I spent every Sunday going to the Church of Christ with my grandma, Lillie Mae Kirk. The church bus driven by deacon Leroy Puckett picked us up in time for Sunday school and brought us home after church services.

My grandma also did custodial services for the church. She had a ring with about 30 keys on it. Going with her to clean I learned what door each of the keys opened. I wish my memory were as good now.

Easter Sunday church attendance always filled the pews. Easter dresses and bonnets made for a really great fashion show. Lace and taffeta dresses in spring colors and mother-daughter dresses. Not to be outdone the dads and their sons were in suits or at least white shirts and ties.

I got a new dress and white patent leather shoes for Easter through my junior year in high school. That year daddy gave me money to buy my own Easter finery. Instead of buying a new outfit I used the money to buy three pairs of Easter 501 Levis. That was the last year my furious father gave me money for an Easter dress. I wore those jeans through my freshman year at Fresno City College. I still think it was a better investment than a dress I would wear once.

Thinking I was quite the hippie I bought an Army coat at Bruno’s and decorated it with patches and ribbon trim. I loved that coat. I also had a Navy pea coat and a pair of wool Navy bellbottoms with a 20-button fly that I loved. Wearing military gear seemed very cool during the Vietnam conflict. Besides, the clothes were made of sturdy materials and lasted forever.

Long days and pleasant nights, have a blessed weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.

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