Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Jewish girl's Easter story

E has had a habit, of late, of asking for period stories, as in: tell me a story from when you were five. Tell me a story from when you were six. Now tell me a story from when you were seven. I find these requests challenging to fulfill. From later in life, when I know a certain age as "ninth grade" or "that summer I spent on a cross-country tour bus" or "when I lived in the middle of a Bosnian community" I can figure out where I was at the age of her request and then find a story to match.  The early years are harder.

For the early years, I tend to tell the same story every time she asks. Here is the story from when I was four:
We lived in Pennsylvania then, in a house on a hill. Our yard sloped down into the next neighbor's yard. She was a tiny white-haired lady named Rose. She was always really nice to your Uncle Matthew and to me. In the summer we'd put a sprinkler on the slope and run from her yard up into ours and down and up and down and up, probably flooding her bushes, but she always welcomed us.

At Easter she gave Matthew and me brightly colored baskets filled with what seemed like more candy than we had ever seen. And so much chocolate! It was exotic and exciting to us, and filled us with wonder - that she'd include us in her traditions made us feel loved, and that we had so much chocolate in our possession made us feel very lucky.

My mother, your Grams, promptly stuck those baskets on the highest shelf of the fridge where we couldn't reach them - where she could measure out how much candy we would eat.

Being told we couldn't eat it all at once was disappointing and I'm sure we moaned, but it wasn't really so surprising. But what happened next filled me with indignation, and it's my first memory of being really angry with my dad, your Gramps.

I walked in the kitchen and found him eating the chocolate out of my basket! And I've never forgotten it. That was the first time I felt a sense of betrayal. I can still picture him standing there, his cheeks full and his jaw chewing, his fingers in my basket reaching for another piece. That's one of my strongest memories of being four.
I told that story to E several times, because for a period of a few weeks she asked once or twice a day for a story for each age. The next time she saw my dad, she marched right up to him and waggled her finger in his face. In a most strident and fearsome tone, completely disposing of "hello"s, she yelled at him:


Whether this day is meaningful to you for the most religious reasons for for the countdown to the end of matzah or for the chocolate bunnies, I hope it's everything you want it to be...though, obviously, abundant chocolate never hurts. Pin It