I grew up in a house about two blocks away from Centenary College of Louisiana. Founded in 1825, it is affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It is a small, private college with beautifully maintained grounds.
Each Easter, my father would drive my mother, myself and two sisters to the grounds of Centenary College for the Easter photo sessions. The blooming azaleas and dogwood were excellent background for the photos. Along the walks around campus, there was a little walker's bridge where many photos were also taken.
When I was growing up, Easter outfits were very important. Every year we were treated to new outfits - new dresses, shoes and matching purses, and many years the purchases even included hats and gloves. Go to Easter services at church in last year's Easter apparel? Please.
The day began early. My youngest sister is seven years younger than me so even as I was old enough to be happy to sleep in a bit and not be so excited about rummaging through an Easter basket, in my teenage years, we were still awaken at the crack of dawn by the youngest.
We were members of the First Presbyterian Church. It was very old, very large and very ornate in decor. This church is the reason I do not feel comfortable in small and plain churches. I crave the pomp and ceremony. The performances of worship. The music from old pipe organs at the front of the church, behind the pulpit area, not stuck off in the back of the church where it is heard but not seen.
And stained glass? Yes, much stained glass.
We were regulars at the church. We attended the 11:00 service every Sunday morning. Sunday school class before the service. And, choir practice for the children's choir every Thursday afternoon after school. My father was asked on a yearly basis to become a deacon of the church but always politely declined the invitation as he traveled three, sometimes four weeks a month, Monday through Friday, and weekends were prime family time. His community service was through the Kiwanis Club and school support.
After church, while we were still dressed and clean, the trip to Centenary College took place. My father was the photographer. He always possessed the latest in camera technology. We have very few pictures of him as he was always the photographer.
Finally, after many pictures were taken, in many different groupings, some with all four of us and some of just his daughters, he would feel enough 'good' shots were taken. Then we were off to my parents favorite restaurant for Sunday lunch.
The restaurant was an Italian restaurant, very old world style, with male waitstaff dressed in black trousers and tie, white starched shirts and dress shoes. The restaurant was a customer of my father's. The adults sipped martinis out of coffee cups, as it was done in those days. So discreet, their indulgence.
Our Easter egg hunts were enjoyed after lunch. Some years it was a neighborhood kids kind of event, other years if the weather was rainy, just my sisters and me around the house or the back yard.
Easter dinner was served around 5:00 in the evening. The meal was always the traditional ham with the side dishes and bread. Easter cake of some kind for dessert.
Always, it was a very full day.