Readers share memories of favorite Easters


April 11, 2009 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated April 10, 2009 at 11:11 p.m.

YOAKUM - Mildred Hearn has accumulated quite a few Easter memories during her almost 83 years.

She and her eight brothers grew accustomed to their Easter traditions, dying eggs with a special red boiled paper that they rubbed on the eggshells, gathering syrup buckets for Easter baskets and riding the wagon to church on Easter.

But another thing they anticipated was the annual Easter egg hunt at the little country school.

One unusual egg hunt, however, stands out vividly in Hearn's mind.

The year was 1940 or 1941 - she can't recall exactly - and she was about 14 years old. The family lived in Corinth, Miss.

The children went to sleep with visions of colored eggs rolling around in their heads, but when they woke, they found a wintry view outside their windows.

"The whole world was snow white with ice," Hearn said. "It was so unusual because we'd had such pretty days."

The younger boys were upset, but Hearn's mother hatched a plan.

"She said, 'Never fear, you can still find your eggs,'" Hearn said.

Mom asked everyone to close their eyes and turn their heads and then hid the eggs inside the house. With a fire lit in the fireplace to warm the house, the children set off to find their treasures.

Once the eggs had been found, Mom hid them again.

"When we broke some of them, we all got to sit around the table and eat the cracked one while Mom was off hiding eggs again," Hearn said. "At the end of the day we were just as happy as if we had spent the day out with everyone else."

The holiday also carries bittersweet memories. Her oldest brother, Roy Franklin Vanderford, was buried on April 2, 1953. On Easter.

"Every Easter Sunday, I think about that day," she said. "Some of the boys were in the service and couldn't make it home for the funeral."

She said she takes time each Easter to remember her brother and what Easter stands for.

And she still celebrates the holiday. Her son, Rick Sumler, gave her her Easter basket early, she said, so she could enjoy it longer.

"It's sitting here on my table right now," she said. "We try to celebrate every holiday."

Looking back, Hearn admits she has been pretty lucky in life.

Although her family didn't have much money when she was growing up, she and her brothers were always "starched, ironed and ready for church on Easter Sunday."

"... Not to show off our new Easter bonnets, but to thank our God the Father for all our many blessings," she said.



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