Our Voices: Happy Easter, and thank you Annie Rose!

I love Easter Egg hunts. I remember the ones my children and grandson participated in.

As best I can recall, I never went on an Easter egg hunt. That’s not a sad song, it’s that I just don’t remember being part of one.

But what I do remember about those early Easters is different depending on where I was living with at the time.

My grandmother, Annie Rose, because she survived on the pennies from an “old-age pension” check, always put an Easter suit for me on layaway at Ott’s Clothing Store months before Easter. On the Monday before Easter we would return to Ott’s and the clerk would measure me and see where the suit had to be “taken up” so that we could pick it up on Good Friday.

Shoes were optional, kind of.

If the shoes I had already were not too bad, I could get them shined and I was good to go, even if they were a size too small. But, if the heels were little warped, I could take them to the shoe shop and get new heels and a shine. I always hoped the heels were beyond repair and I could get a new pair. I don’t remember too many Easters when that happened.

When my grandmother and I moved in with my dad and my stepmother and stepsister, Easter took a step up. Like clockwork, we would go to Robert Hall Clothing Store. I was surprised that I could get a suit, a shirt and a tie and shoes, if I needed them, immediately.

The first time this happened, I rushed to my grandmother to tell her that I could get all this stuff at one time and no layaway. By this time, my grandmother was getting old and her health was beginning to decline.

Annie Rose just looked at me and said nothing. She hardly ever let emotions show unless she heard me taking the tops off her pots when she was cooking. That would cause her to say some really unpleasant things to me.

My guess now is that my grandmother was both happy for me and sad that I did not recognize how much she had to sacrifice to make my holidays seem as good as everyone else’s.

A few years later I was moping around for weeks because I didn’t have a television. As long as my grandmother and I lived together, the only TV we had was a set with a broken picture tube — but the sound worked. So, (don’t laugh) she and I would sit for hours on the foot of the bed and listen to shows

However, when we moved in with my dad, my stepsister had a TV but I didn’t.

One day I came home and there was a new black-and-white Curtis Mathes TV in my room. I whooped and ran to my dad to thank him. He told me that he did not buy it. He said my grandmother had it on layaway for almost a year.

I ran back to her ashamed for taking her for granted. I hugged and thanked her. She said nothing, but just continued to sit in her yellow rocking chair and chew her snuff.

The TV came shortly before Easter.

It was the last big gift, other than her enormous love, that my grandmother gave me before she died. Thanks, Annie Rose, for the best Easter ever.

Ed Pratt is a former Advocate editor. He is assistant to the chancellor for media relations at Southern University. His email address is edpratt1972@yahoo.com