Easter at Mimi’s house, 1967. One thing about Easter when I was growing up, you couldn’t escape Daddy’s camera. He always came to our after-church Easter dinners at Mimi and Da’s equipped with tripod, big box camera and voluminous black cloth.
While we were still decked out in our Easter finery there had to be posing for pictures. And posing. And posing. Before or after lunch, before or after the Easter egg hunt (sometimes both), Harold and I had to stand still for hours — well, it seemed like hours anyway.
And we had to smile. “Hold it. Hold it! Hold it!!!” It’s hard to hold a smile when every fiber of your being knows the other kids are out there finding all the colored eggs.
Before my children were born, I vowed not to put them through the Easter-posing-for-pictures ordeal. I would be a kind, thoughtful, considerate Easter parent. Huh. Guess how long that resolution lasted? When my son was born, all those self-made promises about photos vanished into never-never land, the cameras came out and click, click, click, I went. Every occasion, too, not just Easter, had to be recorded for all time.
Shopping for new Easter clothes continued into this new generation. Every family I knew still did that, and so did we right up until my kids were in high school. Naturally it was only right that we took special photos on Easter. That was when you could count on everyone being dressed up in their snappy suits, shiny shoes, frills and lace, the whole nine yards.
So, before and during and after the annual Easter egg hunt, my children had to stand still for a few moments and smile. “Just one more, smile!” and “Maybe one more for good measure, smile!” At least the posing part didn’t last as long with this generation. Although Daddy did have a small camera for snapshots, he didn’t take many at Easter for some reason. He usually let one horrible lengthy posed session be it.
I didn’t have the talent and training for photography that Daddy had. So by the time my children came along, I made sure to take enough photos on Easter, posed ones and candid ones, so that some shots were bound to be good. After all, grandparents, aunts and uncles would like to have a copy, surely. And of course I took shots of everybody else’s children, all the aunts, uncles and grandparents, too. Practice makes perfect, you know.
These last few years as I glance around church at Easter time, I realize the casual look is superseding Easter bonnets, buttons and bows. Traditions have changed. The smallest worshipers may still look adorable in frilly dresses and little suits, but I have an inkling that wasn’t their first choice of church clothes.
But after Easter church services? Ah, here’s where the more things change, the more they stay the same. Except that now it’s the digital age, the camera-phone age, the mini-camcorder age. Posing may result in a good bit of goofiness but somewhere in all those hundreds of Easter shots there’s bound to be some good ones. Upload to the computer, blog a bunch, and be sure to email the best and the worst and the funniest shots around the world.
I think Daddy would be pleased that my brother and I have re-caught the camera bug in recent years. He probably wouldn’t mind that our methods are a bit more modern and different from his. He’d agree that Easter still calls for celebration, for family get-togethers, and definitely for cameras.