Looking at this picture of my family on Easter, 1953, you must notice the unique Easter baskets we are holding. I’m not sure why we all look so serious, but those baskets bring a smile to my face today.

For many years, the ladies at my grandmother’s church made and sold these baskets in the Spring. I remember going with her one time and watching them put them together, probably in a lively assembly line. There were actually two styles: the petal basket shown here and one that was more of a gathered skirt. I always liked the petals.

My grandmother was raised Catholic, but converted to the Episcopal Church when she married my grandfather, probably because you couldn’t marry outside the church in the early 1900s. They grew up in the same small town and were married for 55 years, raising three sons and a daughter. Their youngest son died in World War II, with all the boys and their son-in-law serving in the military. I am the middle of their nine grandchildren and spent a lot of time visiting and staying with them, absorbing a lot of lessons about love and marriage just being around them. One of the things I think about when I remember the baskets is how my grandmother’s hands were crippled by arthritis. She also had a finger that she couldn’t bend, the result of blood poisoning when she cut it on a tin cup from what I remember. That makes me appreciate the delicate work on the baskets and makes them even more dear to me.

When I first thought about the baskets, I thought I might still have one and I found it. I must have saved this when I was older, so they made them for many years. Even after all these years, you can see the work. They started with a Quaker oatmeal box and cut it down. I guess the handle was wire, wrapped in ribbon. The petals and the little flowers are heavy crepe paper, cut and shaped very delicately. All the pieces were assembled with precision by these women, working in their small Episcopal church in Oklahoma City. The church was later closed (maybe moved to a larger location, but I don’t know). I heard the building I remembered became a bar.

I’m 73 now and in the Easter picture I was 7, so the years have zoomed by. So many things forgotten and so many special things remembered. I don’t have any profound observations about this memory, but it’s a happy one and a window to the past, my past. I wish you and your families and friends many special experiences to create your memories. Happy Easter, Happy Spring.