April 22, 2011 at 1:25 pm , by Rachel Shippy
Happy Good Friday to all those getting ready for Easter this weekend! In the spirit of a holiday with so many seemingly random symbols, like bunny suits, fluffy chicks, and copious amounts of jelly beans, I’d like to share one that’s particularly close to my heart. For as long as I can remember (and since long before my first Easter), my mom, Linda, has made the beautiful, personalized chocolate Easter eggs that you see pictured here. She uses the same mold today that she used the first time she made them back in 1969 (it was my Grandma’s originally and suffered an almost-fatal crack during Easter 2010).
My mom starts by making chocolate half-shells using the mold, then fills them with fluffy chocolate in the center before encasing them with another half-shell and delicately piping each seam. Then she pipes the person’s name in script, on the front. The egg looks like something out of a storybook – anyone would celebrate if they were lucky enough to get one!
That Spring season of ‘69, my mom was raising money to visit her sister Susan, who was living in San Diego at the time (a pricey airfare for a young teen in Ohio). She decided to sell these eggs, which are as delicious as they are special, to family, friends, and neighbors in order to fund her cause. Talk about a nest egg! Not only did she make enough to buy her plane ticket, but she also made enough to enjoy her time in San Diego that summer. She fondly remembers spending some of it at the movies to see Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate — the screening of which was stopped halfway through so she and the other movie patrons could watch Neil Armstrong walk on the moon!
After the success of that first batch of Easter eggs, my mother made them every year following, and traded what was at first an entrepreneurial idea for what has become one of our most cherished holiday traditions. Mid-lent she prompts my sister and I for our ‘egg lists’ so that she can start the intricate assembling they require. And usually by the week of Palm Sunday we’ve each received an Easter-themed box from her, full of our friends’ and co-workers’ names inscribed perfectly in pastel shades on the shiny, molded chocolate. Anyone who has been lucky enough to be on my egg list in the past knows how incredible they are, whether you celebrate Easter or not, and this year is no exception.
Beyond just physically admiring these creations, I most admire what the eggs symbolize, and perhaps the symbol that gets lost in any holiday shuffle… the importance of spending that time connected to your family and friends. It’s easy to equate the wealth of loved ones I’m fortunate enough to have when I look down at their names all in a row, penned in sugar. So this Sunday, whether you’re at church, at home, or face-down in the food you banned yourself from eating after Fat Tuesday, remember the lesson my mom’s eggs annually remind me of: they started as a way to connect my mom with her sister, and today they still represent that connection - between she and I, my own sister… and all the other eggs in our basket. Happy Easter, everyone!