# Is the Easter Bunny Real?
At a very early age (six months) I determined that the Easter Bunny was a hoax invented by the chocolate industry to sell chocolate Easter Bunnies and other assorted sweets. Of course, every child is willing and able to lie and say he or she believes in the Bunny in order to get the chocolate, the jelly beans and anything else sweet that comes in an Easter Basket. (But, how absurd to think that a member of the rodent family would hop around the countryside delivering baskets with fake grass and lots of sweets to boys and girls – no, the truth, of course, is that the Easter Bunny eats all that stuff himself and then dies of sugar poisoning only to be re-born on the next Easter.) So, the definitive answer to the question is “NO!” Now, on to other comments about the “made-up” side of this day and what happens in a typical family prior to the day and then on Easter Sunday itself.
## Clothes Make the Bunny!
Of course this is not true since we’ve already established that the Easter Bunny is not real but a figment of the collective imagination of the chocolate industry. There is, however, a clothing element which serves to make this day unpalatable for children (and adults) around the world. Clothing is the concept that made me dislike Easter – I will put an actual date on the time that I began to think of Easter Sunday as a day not to look forward to – that day would be Easter Sunday, 1953. Why that day? That is the day I realized that each year my sisters and I would have to suffer the endless shopping event that culminated in Easter Sunday. Yes, shopping event. What was even more terrorizing was the fact that, with absolute certainty, the clothing that was purchased for us in the name of Easter celebration would be uncomfortable and “itchy.” My mother would begin thinking about what all of us “would wear” as we paraded out of our house on Fairview Avenue and headed for church in the morning and then to either my maternal grandparents’ apartment or their club where my grandma would make sure that all of the adults were sufficiently inebriated on champagne cocktails and other intoxicants (not sure what those might have been but those days were before the popularity of cannabis sativa L, commonly known as marijuana or “pot”). So. once those thoughts of the Easter Parade entered mom’s consciousness, the inevitable shopping “tour” was set in motion. For my sisters, it meant the endless search that would net the appropriate identical “outfit” that each of them would wear, complete with dress, hat, socks and shoes. For me, it meant trying on countless pairs of slacks, jackets, shoes, ties and other assorted items of apparel that I would never have considered wearing for any event. Think of wearing itchy flannel pants! Stiff pastel colored dress shirts! Cuff links – like why would I care? As soon as I was able to formulate the words expressing my total hate of what was going on I discovered that I could accelerate my portion of this awful shopping spree by adamantly announcing “NO” to every item that the poor sales clerk would present on orders from mom. “NO, I don’t like that.” “No, it looks silly.” “NO, it will be too hot.” Soon my mother would tire of my endless litany of “NOs.” The fatal error I made during one pre-Easter shopping spree was taking my recitation of “NOs” one step further – that’s right, I over did it. My mother was particularly enamored of this pair of “really cute” gray flannel slacks. I tried them on and of course immediately chimed “I don’t like these, they itch.” My mom asked if I couldn’t just suffer for the short time the Easter celebration lasted. “NO, the only way I could do that is if these pants had the legs lined with satin . . .” My mom looked at the sales clerk questioningly. I knew I had made a terrible mistake when he smiled at mom and nodded his head while saying “Of course we can – he won’t even know he has the pants on.” Oh my God, why couldn’t I have kept my sharp, Easter bashing comments to myself? The long and short of that is that I wore those damn pants on that Easter Sunday but never, ever again.
## Over the River and Through the Woods
I’m sure you could finish this little phrase without thinking about it but for those of you who are clueless, the phrase would continue “to Grandma’s house we go . . .” Yes, the two options for Easter Sunday (after church, of course, which wasn’t so much a celebration of the Resurrection but rather but a testament to the fact that my mom had good taste in children’s Easter clothing) were to go to my maternal grandparents’ apartment (it was a nice apartment – two bedrooms, a good sized living room, a nice dining room). The problem? It was always over-heated – the radiators were still operating full-blast, even if Easter was late and the day was warm – so it was also stuffy. Add to that, cramming several other of my grandparents’ family members, the male members of each who smoked cigars, was similar to the experience that a condemned prisoner must have experienced while waiting for the lethal gas to seep into the tiny gas chamber. (The one difference: the condemned prisoner’s time was limited to the few moments before he died while my suffering would go on for endless hours as visibility in the apartment slowly became zero.) There would be tasty chocolate Easter eggs laying around but, of course, we were not supposed to touch those, they were for decoration purposes only. (What the hell, was grandma going to pack these away and display them again next Easter?) Next would come the “eating” segment and that meant ham and scalloped potatoes – I guess I never minded the ham, but the potatoes? I thought of those as an invention to further torture children. Add something like beets or some other horrid vegetable like turnips or some similar “root food” and the meal would be a total disaster.
“Option 2” offered some consolation as the celebration would begin and end at my grandparents’ club (which was just a few blocks from their apartment). The relief was ’slim’ but nevertheless relief. The dining room at “The Club” was large and the cigar smoke was not nearly as concentrated as in the death chamber apartment. Another “plus” was that during what seemed an endless “brunch” my grandmother’s main job was to make sure each of the adults had at least ten champagne cocktails. While my sisters and I didn’t actually “count” the drinks, the waitress for our table couldn’t keep up with Grandma’s drink orders – I think they just loaded a tray with the drinks on it and were told to keep delivering them to our table. We could also say we were going to the bathroom and then wander around other rooms in the club where there was little or no cigar smoke. We couldn’t get away with those excursions too much since that would have been “bad manners.” Well, yeah, bad manners for me but perfectly acceptable for my sisters since Grandma had no use for boys. I have no recollection of the food that may have been served – “club fare” of some sort or other. What I do remember is each Easter there was a “hat contest.” The women in the dining room would all parade around the room showing off their new “Easter Bonnets.” Most of these were some hideous creations by some misguided “fashion” person. Occasionally there was some humor in it like the Easter my mother saw this absolutely ugly though colorful “Easter” hat with some feathers obscenely sticking out of it. She got this twinkle in her eye and bought it for about $2.95 at Woolworths or something. (Keep in mind that $2.95 was, at the time, a lot of money – everything is ‘relative.’) She told us this was for the “Hat Contest” at the club. Sure enough, on that Easter Sunday, the parade formed up and the women began their parade around the dining room. The judges were watching and all eyes were glued on the contestants. I remember seeing mom (she was a shameless ham sometimes) batting her eyes as she passed the review “stand.” A short time later the announcement was made and mom was announced at this Easter’s winner of the “grand prize.” I don’t remember what the prize was (probably a couple of free champagne cocktails, as if anyone needed another one) but we would talk of mom’s “crowning” glory for a long time to come. That made that Easter a bit more palatable.