Thursday, April 21, 2011

He is Risen

He is Risen

Do you remember the snowdrops I was anticipating in February? They are usually grown in clumps like groundcover. One, solitary – all by its lonesome snowdrop, out of the twelve bulbs I planted, is alive. It is the tiniest of our Easter blooms at our back door. I placed a wooden robin’s egg of accurate size, in the picture to give you an idea of just how tiny this flower is. I may not have a green thumb but I keep my hand to the trowel anyway.

 The lilacs and bleeding hearts have soaked up the rain and are poised for warmer days.

I began my punched paper project last week. It felt good to have an embroidery needle in hand again.

The satin stitches make the picture go quickly. In eight sittings it was made ready for Easter Day. I placed it on the cupboard in view of our dinning table.

Holding each Kodak slide up to a bright window, I squinted through a box of slides taken by my parents in the 1960s. Who is this handsome man? He is my father. My brother and I are beside him. Do you see the nifty station wagon in the background? 

A few years later my sister joins us. The photograph got me thinking. My earliest memories of Easter are of form and beauty. There seems to be a low opinion of anything formal these days. But to be "in good form" (a British expression) was at one time a compliment. As a child I had no sense of social convention as being stiff, stuffy, extravagant, or ostentatious - although there was little “casual” about our Easters in the 1960s. In my memory I see a happy traditional day unfold. I see flowers, Easter baskets, jellybeans, smiles, colored eggs, and chocolate bunnies. I see hair set the night before in hard plastic rollers, white gloves, hats, bow ties. I see our 100-year-old church so full the wooden floors creaked under the strain. The organ prelude sounded more intricate. The congregational hymns sounded more jubilant. Lilies lined the windowsills of tall stained glass windows.

 My brother is dressed “sharp.” This is the term my mother used. It meant the opposite of sloppy. My little sister is wearing my pink hand-me-down spring coat. I’m the big sister in blue. "You are as neat as a pin,” my mother told us. She was happily satisfied with her efforts.

Sunday dinner was at my grandparent’s house just ‘round the corner. Even though there were as many children as there were adults the long table was set with pretty china, silverware, stemmed glasses and cloth napkins. Roast beef was served on a large oval platter on top of a white tablecloth. I savored the melt-in-your mouth dinner rolls imitating the adults by keeping my roll on its own individual bread plate. A pat of butter was added to the plate with a funny shaped butter knife.

A rumble of adult voices, the clinking of dishes, washed by a pair of sweet but ancient great-grandmothers in aprons over their lace collars and cameo pins, signaled it was time we cousins played outside - without getting our Sunday clothes torn or soiled, we were warned. But we felt the special-ness of the day and managed to obey the order with no trouble. We mostly ran up and down the metal cellar doors.

It was Easter Day, a day of form, a day of remembering our Ps and Qs, a day of beauty and cheer, second only to a wedding. And all to honor the remembrance of our Lord who loved us, gave Himself up for us, and rose again. 

Please excuse the fact that my token antique silver butter knife needs polishing and isn’t in top form. 

Comments are Welcome.
Karen Andreola 


  1. What a beautiful post, Karen. Your needlework looks lovely nestled in that place. I always enjoy seeing your creations--I love doing needlework myself, even if it isn't a "fashionable" thing for a young woman to do these days. Pulling the needle up, down, up, down is so relaxing. I'm pleased to say my 12 year old daughter is enamoured with cross-stitch now after watching her mom!

  2. Dear Karen,

    What great memories of your childhood. Easter for us was a time of getting brand new outfits and being late for church :-)

    We never made it on time to sit down, so must of the time, we were left standing on the sides of the church.

    But overall...they are good memories :)

    I like your embroidery - the satin stitch does make it for a fast project.

    Have a blessed Resurrection Day!

    Mrs. M.

  3. What a beautiful project, Karen.

    I remember a sweet sailor style dress and new purse for Easter that I particularly loved as a girl. We did dress up for Easter even in casual California!

  4. He is Risen Indeed. Happy Easter!


  5. Several years ago the Queen of England visited the States. I loved seeing pictures of her dressed so carefully and wearing her gloves. My mother still wore gloves until about 1971 or so.

    So often today we are encouraged to lower our standards.
    Thank you for reminding us that formality is not synonymous with pretension.


  6. I can see your kids in these pictures of a younger you! So cute! Have a wonderful Easter.

  7. Dear Karen,

    I'm so happy to find you! I didn't know you had a blog, but I love your books. What a gift you have for describing what could be considered ordinary memories. I love the pink and blue coats in the photo; very sharp-dressed, indeed!



  8. Thank you for allowing us to journey along on your reminiscence. I'm left wondering just what you carried in your little basket purses.

    Your vignettes are always so pleasing. I hope your "He is Risen" isn't put away for awhile.

  9. I'm not Karen, but in my little purse I carried an embroidered handkerchief, my gloves (that I hated to wear) and a quarter for the Sunday contribution.


  10. Hi Ladies,
    Thank you for your notes over the holiday.
    Yesterday I asked my mother what we sisters carried in our purses and she told me, "a handkerchief." Then she added, "that's what the Queen keeps in her purse."
    Karen A.

  11. Enjoyed seeing your punch paper embroidery, your beautiful blue and white dishes and spring display. It so reminds me of our mutual friend...our tastes are all so similiar.
    Sarah B

  12. How interesting that I came upon this particular post during Holy Week. May you have a lovely Easter as grandmama this year.