Easter brings to mind many memories. I cannot think of the holiday, without immediately thinking of my maternal grandparents, Grammy and Pappy Lupole. To accurately explain why my recollections of Easter are so intertwined with my grandparents, I need to introduce you to these two major influences on my life.
Ruth Lupole, my grandmother, was one of the most fun loving people I have ever met. Though, she was plagued with illness from her childhood experience with Rheumatic Fever, she never let health hold her back. One of my fondest childhood memories is when I would sit next to her on her piano bench. Grammy would play hymns and I would sing along. She would personalize them, removing the pronouns and exchanging them for my name. However, Grammy was not all seriousness. I remember one Halloween when my father was out of town, late at night there was a knock on our door. When my mother opened the door a child in a Wonder Women mask said, “Trick or Treat”. After giving her candy, we shut the door. Confusion and anxiety gripped us. Why would someone come so late? My mom commented, “There is something strange about that visitor”. Then, about 10 minutes later while our minds continued to stir, another knock came on the door. My mom cautiously opened it, to reveal my Grammy holding the mask. She got us real good! I have treasured memories of her playing paper dolls, Uno, and other silly games. I am convinced that she is the only grandmother who played MASH and giggled with us like a middle school girl. Grammy had a way of making everything more fun! I feel honored to have the middle name Ruth, in tribute to her.
William Lupole, my grandfather, proudly fought in World War II. However, he did not speak much about it. If I were asked what I most admired about him, it would be his work ethic and loyalty. He worked in a factory making airplane parts for most of his life. His shift was 3 pm to 11 pm. He also drove the school bus and sold advertising. Balancing three jobs to support his family. He told my grandmother that he always finished his quota at the factory by 6 pm. Then, he would read his Bible. After that, he would help the guys who had not yet reached their quota, or were new, as he did not want to see any of their paychecks docked. He had a servants heart. Pappy loved any type of sport, especially baseball. He was heavily involved in Little League baseball. He had a flare for style. At one point I counted the socks in his sock drawer. He had 106 pair. He was always perfectly coordinated, and up to date. Pappy was an institution in the Sunday School wing of their church in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He taught the middle school boys class for many years. He loved God with all his heart and his family completely.
Easter was ripe with tradition for my Grammy and Pappy. One of their favorites was dyeing Easter eggs. The whole family would gather around the kitchen table to color eggs. The event always started seriously, with single color eggs, personalized with each family member’s name. We would each pick our favorite color and dye our egg. The event always deteriorated to complete silliness. I will always remember Grammy dipping one egg into 4 colors, and then dubbing the finished product, “sky blue, pink, with a heavenly border”.
Another tradition involved clothes. Every year from my birth until I graduated from college Grammy sewed for me, or later purchased for me, an Easter dress. It was always extravagant, with ruffles and bows. The kind of dress that made a little girl spin in circles, just to see it swirl. She did not stop with the dress. She purchased tights, white patent leather shoes, a white patent leather purse, a bonnet, and sometimes even gloves. She would lay the completed ensemble on my bed, and I would dream of Easter morning when I would put it on, and wear it to church. My very best for Resurrection Sunday. After church she would take picture after picture, containing every possible combination of family members. It dragged on a bit at the time, however, those photo memories are much treasured now.
We always had an Easter egg hunt. Colored plastic eggs were filled by Grammy and hid by Pappy, in our back yard. Their faces would beam as my sister and I searched for the eggs. It was evident that they enjoyed the festivities as much, if not more, than we did.
My grandparents along with my parents, had a way of making my childhood magical. They always made it clear that Easter was about Jesus and what He did for us on the cross, and through His resurrection from the dead that conquered sin and death forever, bringing us into relationship with God. We celebrated Jesus! We enjoyed each other! Memories and moments I will hold in my heart for a lifetime. In case you are wondering, we will be dyeing eggs and having an egg hunt this year, as always. Oh and yes, my mother has kept the Easter dress tradition alive, that her mother began 46 years ago.