Camden Easter Memories–1950’s

Dear Readers,

Holidays bring back childhood memories–here’s what I remember from memories of the fifties in North Camden.  Wishing all of you a Blessed Easter Day!

After we went to Sunday School at State Street Methodist Church, not even a block away from our house on Grant Street, we’d walk to visit our grandparents and relatives and somehow I always remember those Easter Sundays as sunny days. Did we skip from Grant Street to Fifth Street? I think so. We were pretty darn happy.

My mom always dressed up Billy (my brother) and me for Easter. Billy wore a suit and tie, a sporty fedora with a little feather and new shoes. I’d have a new dress and shoes, not to mention a hat, little pocketbook and gloves. Out would come the camera and we’d try not to squint as we got our pictures taken outside in the sun.

We’d ring Nana’s doorbell and the two dogs, old, rusty-colored, wobbly Jake (the lady’s man of North Camden) and young, black and white, nervous Fighter, would rush to the door to greet us with barks of joy. Nana would be there, telling the dogs to get down, wiping her hands on her apron and welcoming us into the house through the dim hallway and dining room into the kitchen.

Nana had a pot of percolated coffee on the stove for the adults and there was milk for us kids. Aunt Vera and she gave us big coconut filled chocolate eggs, jellybeans and Peeps! Aunt Vera got a knife and sliced a piece of the eggs for us. Talk about a sugar rush. And—we had baskets of candy and colored hardboiled eggs at home awaiting us.

PopPop sat in the living room with his pipe and crossword puzzles, exchanging a few friendly words with my parents. Pots of spring flowers crowded the top of the big TV because my family and my aunts and uncles brought flowers to them every Easter—lilies, hyacinths, tulips. The sweet smell overwhelmed the living room and mixed with pipe and cigarette smoke, aftershave and perfume. Palms were stuck in mirrors and frames from the previous Sunday.

My grandmother beamed as she showed us pot after pot of flowers. She sure did deserve them—the mother of thirteen. Now that I look back, I realize that she deserved so much more than what she had in her life.

I know that my aunts and uncles and cousins were there—the exact years? I can’t remember—let’s leave it at the fifties. There’s a photo somewhere of Cousin Kathy Wunsch and me. We took turns walking Fighter on brick paved Fifth Street, decked out in our Easter outfits. I do remember the aunts and sister-in-laws dressed up and in heels and the men in white shirts and probably jackets and ties. Many of them had attended Easter Mass at Holy Name Church a few blocks away.

Perhaps we had dinner or lunch there. That seems possible. I wish I could remember more. Maybe what I do remember is enough? It was a simple time. Glad I have those memories.

Now I’m a grandmother and my granddaughter will celebrate her first Easter tomorrow.. (What? At my age?  I’m only sixty-six.)  Only one kid, but, Kim, you’re as good as thirteen.  My grandmother beat me by twelve.  God bless her.  I remember her so much this Easter.





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