Mama’s Story of the Easter Egg Tree

The following story is an excerpt from The Heritage of Etta Bend, a story my mother told me about her childhood in northeast Oklahoma. The “I” is my mother, Susie Latty Day. Mom told me this story and I wrote it to be included in The Heritage of Etta Bend in 1989.

It was spring, 1915. I was nine and Georgia was seven. Alice, who was fifteen, got the idea of having an Easter egg tree. We had a Christmas tree at Christmas, so why not enliven Easter with a tree too?

We wondered where we would find a suitable tree. Many Hawthornes grew near our house. We searched until we found one that was just the right height, but many smaller bushes crowded around it. Papa obligingly cleared a space for us around our chosen tree. The ground was grassy and smooth.

For days, Mama saved the shells from eggs fried for breakfast or stirred into cakes. Aunt Effie saved shells too, until we had a respectable amount.

On the Saturday before Easter, my sisters and I sat down to color our shells with crayons. Some broke, no matter how careful we were, but we had lots of shells. Then, after we colored them, we cut narrow strips of paper and pasted the strips across the tops of our shells, from one side to the other, making tiny shell baskets. Mama got out the corn and we popped corn to fill the little baskets.

On Easter morning, we took our bright egg baskets to our special Hawthorne tree and carefully hung them on the thorns. Georgia and I couldn’t reach very high, but Alice, being older and taller, could reach almost to the top of the thorn-bush. Our Easter tree glowed with color.

We invited all the neighborhood children to our Easter ground. They brought baskets of colored, boiled eggs for hunting. We hunted until we got tired and then we sat on the grass around our tree. Alice handed each one of us a basket from the tree. We ate our popcorn and Easter eggs, then we played games until it was time for everyone to go home.

Times have changed greatly since that long ago Easter. Many of the people at the Easter ground that spring are no longer with us. It has always been true that the best times are those we create. In those days, entertainment was what people made of it. That was the only entertainment we had–the homemade kind.

One strange and happy thing about our Easter ground–the bushes and trees Papa cleared around our special tree have never grown back. Grass grows tall and unkempt on the old Easter ground now, but if it were mowed and the ground cared for, it would be as smooth as it was that long ago Easter.

Happy Easter!

He is risen!

He is risen, indeed.



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