Easter is a day of conflict for me and exists in my memory bank in two different settings: Before and After 1982.
Before the Double-Handed Farallones Race in 1982, Easter morning was always awakening to a basket filled with chocolate bunnies, Cadbury eggs, malted milk balls in pastel colors and, my favorite still to this day, those sickly sweet, sugar-coated marshmallow Peeps. (I’ve tried them all and the yellow chicks are still the best.)
In our early years, my sister and I would be dressed in matching frilly frocks and we’d go to the morning service at the First Presbyterian Church in Alameda. This is the church that my Nana and Papy joined when they settled in Alameda after immigrating to America from Belfast, Northern Ireland in the late 1940s. My parents were married there in 1963 and my sister and I attended Sunday School when we weren’t away for the weekend on our family sailboat.
After the service, we’d head to Encinal Yacht Club for the traditional brunch, a visit from the Easter Bunny, and an egg hunt on the lawn overlooking the Estuary. In my teen years, my mother was the Social Chair and I was recruited to be the Easter Bunny for several years. Why they thought that a young girl going through puberty would look good in a grey leotard, tights and bunny ears, is beyond me. It didn’t bother me then, but I cringe now when I think about it … and wonder if anyone else saw it as a weird and inappropriate version of a Playboy Bunny. But times really were more innocent then, and the children loved it.