Happy Easter in a Scary Spring on #MondayFunday March 26, 2018. Welcome to my blog and a story about Easter that takes place in Chapter 7 in my first book, Scary Spring: Our Polio Fright of 1955. This fun-filled book is historical fiction based on my childhood adventures and real events from the 1950s. In the Easter Chapter, my main characters Pete and Carol Ann take a break from worrying about polio and trying to solve the mystery of the puppy they’ve temporarily named Hey Pup to enjoy a typical and fun 1950s-style Easter Day.
On Easter morning in the 1950s, kids woke up to candy-filled Easter baskets. Here’s an excerpt from Page 71: “Goodies filled my Easter basket up to its brim. Colorful jelly-gum eggs, a chocolate bunny, a candy-filled plastic bunny, a box of yellow marshmallow chicks called Peeps nestled in my basket’s fake, green grass.” An Easter basket might also contain candy bars with names like Big Hunk, Hershey’s, and Mallow Cups that we still enjoy today! In the story, Pete looked forward to not only raiding his Easter basket for candy but to eating a fist-full of Pecan Crescent Cookies baked by Carol Ann’s Mom.
(My Mom Jeanne Hartnell really did make these scrumptious cookies from a 1930s cook book recipe. I have her cook book and still make them too!)
After indulging in a few candy treats, kids were encouraged to get dressed in their very best clothes for a trip to church where they would hear the Easter Story and sing “Jesus loves me. This I know. For the Bible tells me so.” After church and back home in the story, Uncle Charlie gathered Carol Ann, her sisters, and girl cousins together for a photo. (This is the real photo from an Easter day in the 1950s taken by my Uncle Charlie! My sister, Gail, sent this photo to Reminisce Magazine and they printed it on the back cover of their Spring 2017 issue!)
In the Easter chapter, Pete and Carol Ann helped the little kids hunt for Easter eggs hidden all over Carol Ann’s yard. The kids had spent time the previous day dying real eggs in rainbow colors to be hidden Easter morning for the Great Easter Egg Hunt which happened in yards all over El Monte, California. Later Easter Day and after solving the mystery of the missing Gail, on Page 82 Pete asked Carol Ann for the recipe for her Mom’s Pecan Crescent Cookies. Carol Ann recited the recipe as they “sprinted flat-out back to Aunt Ruthie’s kitchen and the desserts.” Pete got his special Easter treat and the Easter Chapter ends with these words, “Pete popped a powdered piece of cookie between his open lips.”
Here’s the recipe for Pecan Crescent Cookies:
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup Shortening
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 tsp. Salt
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 cups Flour
2 cups Pecans, finely ground
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together 1/2 cup soft butter and 1/2 cup shortening.
Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 2 cups of flour, and 2 cups of finely ground pecans.
With squeaky clean hands, roll bits of dough into crescents and place on a cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Dip Cool cookies in powdered sugar.
Like in the Easter chapter, my sisters and I really did attend church services on Easter Sunday in the 1950s. First we went to Sunday School and heard the Easter Story about Jesus and the empty tomb or watched our teacher illustrate the story on a felt board with felt people and objects. Then we’d go to “Big Church” for an Easter sermon and lots of singing. Fresh in my memory are the songs “The Old Rugged Cross” and “Hallelujah! What a Savior.” When we walked out of church we might hear someone say, “He is risen.” And the response, “He is risen, indeed.” Happy Easter!