Yesterday was Easter pie day.
Easter has always been a big deal in my family. It was always that one holiday that out “chaos-ed” every other holiday. Where family traveled from near and far to stay in my nana’s small 100-year-old house in an old italian mining town in upstate Pennsylvania to celebrate, cook, eat, visit older relatives, visit the dead ones too…at the cemetery (yes this was an activity), eat some more, and leave on Easter Sunday afternoon exhausted and with a dose of heartburn.
As the oldest grandchild I spent 34 Easters there. The ones spent with my cousins were the most memorable. We would spend our days running around to the playground, corner store and at elderly aunt’s houses, and spend the nights staying up too late and carving our names into the attic ceiling. As we grew up the only thing that really changed was the alcohol intake and some fierce games of scrabble.
After having meatballs and easter pies for breakfast, Church was the big outing on Sunday. Sometimes I even went on Saturday night to hear my nana and her sisters sing at the vigil mass. I could always pick out her harmonies in that choir loft…She lived till 97 years old and even in the end, legally blind and a failing heart, she managed to get the pies done and thank goodness she passed it down to her kids..because near and far all four of them still do the pies, and the meatballs and still makes a big deal out of Easter, no matter who is there for the gathering.
My mom, aunt and I gathered at my sister-in-law’s house yesterday to get the pies done. Since I’m still a one-armed wonder and get scolded by a family member or medical professional every time I do something other than sit and take pictures, I did just that. (iPhone pics only since I only have the use of one arm, so I apologize for the pic quality..) I documented our old but new tradition, with some of nana’s great grandkids on hand to join in the fun and add to the chaos.
A pictorial follows and no you don’t get the recipes. All Italians have their own secret ingredients when it comes to these things and far be it from me to give them away. ps I don’t even have them yet.
dying eggs and some crafts were next. a tradition that carries on from the late 70’s with us grandkids…some years were more successful than others and some (like in the late 90’s) were accompanied by a lot of vino, making for some crazy eggs. but here’s a peak at this generation’s:
These days we spend Easter Sunday at my aunt’s house with a lot of the same family members as well as some new ones and a lot more little ones. Yes, It’s different but the same. The same energy level, the same menu, the same jokes, the same chaos. It’s a nice beginning to the next generation’s childhood memories.
I wrote this email to my cousins about a year after nana passed to say happy Easter and that I always think of them on that day. It never fails that in some way, whether by phone, text, or in person we all connect still every easter.
“Happy Easter cousins! It’s obviously not the same as it used to be…I was thinking of taking the kids to the mall after baseball practice tomorrow to see the Easter bunny but we don’t have a Boscovs who’s first floor is full of strong smelling hyacinth and lots of old lady’s searching for the perfect Easter tablecloth..so it won’t feel the same.
I would watch Saturday night live tomorrow night but it’s not as fun if it’s not huddled in sleeping bags and afghans on a 70-year-old carpet.
I will try to fry up some garlic and peppers so my house can come close to smelling like nana’s and maybe we can pick up some pony beers just for old times sake.
Happy Easter friends! xo