Last Saturday was Egg Day at my house. The sun was shining (sort of) and it wasn’t horribly cold (I didn’t have to wear gloves) so it was time to hang the plastic eggs on the arbor vitae bushes in my front yard.
Real Easter eggs were a huge deal when I was growing up. My mom blew out the yolks of hundreds of eggs using just her mouth and a piece of straw from a broom when the hole got clogged. Instead of being grossed out, I was fascinated. We painted them, glued rick rack and yarn and other stuff we had on them and hung them on a tree in the living room. We lost a few when the cat went nuts one year but even after moving them many times, most of my favorites are still intact and stored in boxes with my mom’s schoolteacher handwriting on top. There’s one egg that’s painted silver with pipe cleaner handles to look like a trophy, another with yellow yarn hair named Janey Stone after a glamorous woman who went to our church, and a beautiful tropical fish one my brother made that won a contest at school. Those are indoor eggs and I enjoy them responsibly.
The outdoor eggs are a more recent addition for me. We got the idea from Gary Oster, who used to run a restaurant in Clarence—remember Oster’s, on the west side of town? He had a nice maple tree out front and every Easter he’d hang hundreds of colorful plastic eggs on it. It took a lot of effort but everyone loved it. He always said he had plenty of help hanging the eggs but no one volunteered to take them down. When he retired, he gave away the eggs and I got some of them. I can tell which ones are his because the holes for the hangers were punched by hand—using a heated icepick. The hangers were twisty ties from bread bags or—even older—real pipe cleaners.
Ruth Grisham used to put eggs on the bushes in front of her house, too. Someone asked me once if it was a librarian thing. It’s just a fun way to spread joy—but I agree with Gary. It’s more fun to put them out than it is to take them down.
My boys under Gary Oster’s egg tree, circa 1993.
Bottom left to top right: Janey Stone, silver trophy, award-winning Exotic Eggfish.