By Lou Pastina
“In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it, you’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade!” How come the networks don’t run the movie Easter Parade with Judy Garland and Fred Astaire anymore? What a great movie! Do you remember the Easters of old? Mothers and fathers would dress their kids up, boys in blue communion suits, and girls in Easter dresses and hats. The old Polaroid pictures show the faded colors of yesteryear. And you had to squint into the sun when they were taking pictures, so you always had eyes that seemed to be squeezed together.
How about staying up the night before and coloring Easter eggs? How much fun was that to take the vinegar and mix in the coloring and use those metal holders to try and dip the eggs into the coffee cups. And how about trying to combine the colors to make some sort of psychedelic tie-dyed eggs! Or how about putting stickers on the eggs? And the next day getting to eat the eggs, colors and all!! How hard was it to get those colors off the cups? I wonder if those colors had any adverse affects!
And how about Easter baskets? That was the most fun, baskets filled with chocolate, and those yellow candies, and those marshmallowy candies. Some kids even got baby chicks. Which if you didn’t know, grow up to be big chicks, causing parents to figure out what to do with them!
Catholic Mass seemed to go on forever in those days, and the church was always packed. And because the weather was usually spring like, everyone walked to church, and you got to say hello to everyone and see how much they had grown over the winter.
And then the Ten Commandments would play and I could never seem to stay up for the end, although I had a pretty good idea how it all came out. Charlton Heston looking like, well, Moses! Vincent Price, Edward G. Robinson, Yule Brenner, you wondered later in life who was in charge of casting? Those guys were usually in horror, gangster and western movies, and not biblical ones. And the special effects were amazing for the time, especially the parting of the Red Sea, it all made history and religion come alive. The Ten Commandments gave me my first understanding of what Passover was all about. Suddenly the Old Testament was not so old, and I realized that today’s world is not that far removed from the ancient one. The questions that get asked the night of Seder seem as relevant today as ever. I continue to learn things from this movie, and continue to watch it every year seeing something I hadn’t the previous year.
Our young ones are older now, so there are no more Easter baskets or candies, and some of them don’t even go out the night before anymore, which makes for a better night’s sleep for the mermaid and I. But we get together as a family and get to spend time with each other. The newer Easters are less about candy, and more about the message of hope, love and redemption. In a world full of scary places and very bad people, it’s nice to be able stop the world and just appreciate the sun and cool breeze here in Rockapoulco. So this weekend get out and make your own Easter Parade, and perhaps like the song of old says, “you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure.” And if you are wondering what that is, it’s the picture section of the newspaper, just like the good ole’ Rockaway Times right here.