Easter at the Manse

This is me (at left) and my younger siblings John and Melanie at the Manse in 1966 – the era when we were at the prime age for enjoying an early-Easter-morning Easter-egg hunt. My youngest sibling, Ken, wasn't yet born; when he came along, he just added to the Easter-morning ruckus. (Photo by my grandfather, J.A.S. Keay)

This is me (at left) and my younger siblings John and Melanie at the Manse in 1966 – the era when we were at the prime age for enjoying an early-Easter-morning Easter-egg hunt. My youngest sibling, Ken, wasn’t yet born; when he came along, he just added to the Easter-morning ruckus. (Photo by my grandfather, J.A.S. Keay)

It has been a happy but very busy Easter Sunday here in Montreal for Raymond and me, which means I am sending out Easter wishes to readers very late in the day indeed. But better late than never, I think: happy Easter to all of you, wherever you may be! And if you are not of the Christian persuasion, then this: happy spring! (Because I think it really is here, despite the snow flurries that are showing up in this week’s weather forecast, for our part of the world at least.)

Because it was a busy day here in Montreal, I didn’t have a lot of time to reflect on Easter Sundays at the Manse back when I was growing up there. But there is one thing I do remember well, and I’m quoting the Grinch here: “The noise, noise, noise, noise!”

The fact that there were – and are – two staircases at  the Manse (as you can see in this photo: in the foreground is the rougher "back" staircase that leads down to the kitchen, and beside it, with only a plaster wall separating them, is the more formal "front" staircase) made our childhood Easter-egg hunts all the more rambunctious.

The fact that there were – and are – two staircases at the Manse (as you can see in this photo: in the foreground is the rougher “back” staircase that leads down to the kitchen, and beside it, with only a plaster wall separating them, is the more formal “front” staircase) made our childhood Easter-egg hunts all the more rambunctious.

That would be the noise of four little kids, early on Easter Sunday morning, charging up and down and all around the house looking for hidden chocolate Easter eggs. The Easter Bunny (in the form of my mum, I believe) had a system at the Manse whereby the egg hunt began with a little piece of paper on which was written a clue to one child – and I think it started with me, as the eldest, but I could be wrong about that – about where the first one was. So all four of us would go charging to that general area, and when the egg was found, with it would be another piece of paper with a clue for the next child (that would be my sister, Melanie), so we would then go roaring after that, and then there’d be a clue for my brother John, and then one for the youngest, Ken, and then it started all over again with me. And if I’m not mistaken, the Easter Bunny arranged it so that one find would be downstairs and the next would be upstairs, and that pattern would continue throughout the hunt. So there was much crashing up and down the stairs; and wasn’t it happy for all concerned that in that house there were, and are, two sets of stairs? All the better to crash up and down on!

Those are happy memories, as you can imagine. In my mind’s eye, the sun always shone on Easter Sunday morning. And then after the big chocolate-egg hunt, it was off to Sunday School and church at St. Andrew’s United as usual. With the great Easter hymns and a wonderful feeling of celebration at church, and the sanctuary packed full.

A joyous day, always. As today has been. I hope it has been for all of you too.

4 thoughts on “Easter at the Manse

  1. What a rumpus indeed! I cannot imagine that this Easter mayhem on the stairs must not sometimes have ended in tears ~ not even once? And what a clever mom to set up the clues – we just got colourful little woven balsa-wood baskets with paper straw (later plastic, and wonderful stuff it was too) and the usual chocolate suspects. Funny how we anticipated Easter morning with such joy – perhaps there weren’t so many treats always available ‘in our day’? Or perhaps having church and Sunday school ~ and even once a (blustery, brutally cold) sunrise service ~ to look forward to ~ the real Easter ~ made the day?

    • I think that’s it, Lindi. A combination of treats that were indeed fairly rare, and being in a household where the important and joyfulness of the day were very much recognized. Perhaps that is why in my memory it is always sunny on Easter at the Manse!

    • I will try to oblige! I wish I had a lot more than I do. My grandfather took lots of photos of the family, but almost always as slides – which are not very practical these days. There might be a blog post in that… Remember going to other people’s homes and looking at their vacation slides?

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