My mother reminded me today about how we used to deliver Easter baskets. I had all but forgotten.
A few weeks before Easter, my mother would call the school nurse, Mrs. Robinson, and ask for names of local families who were especially needy ("You couldn't do that today," she sighed). Over the next few weeks, she would corral my brothers and me and we would make Easter baskets from milk cartons she had saved. We'd decorate eggs. We'd make Jell-O eggs from hollowed-out egg shells, by filling them halfway with one color of Jell-O, chilling, then topping them off with a second color. We made cupcakes, each decorated with the children's names. A little paper hat, ruffled collar, and glued on nose made a "clown egg." She made sure each basket was identical so children in the family would all get the same thing.
Very early on Easter morning, we would drive to their homes and drop off the Easter baskets.
Over the years, we would hear stories about these mysterious baskets. People would ask neighbors and relatives but no one knew who the secret bunny was. One time, my brother Arthur was confronted by a class mate who said she knew he was the Easter Bunny. She was up very early, saw a car drive up, and saw Arthur drop off the basket. Arthur reported back to Mom that he had to "lie" to keep our secret.
We also heard about a family who woke up to find colored eggs and parts of cupcakes all over their yard. It seems their dog had a wonderful Easter that year.
As I've grown up, I have discovered a lot examples of how unusual my parents were. She did this kind of thing naturally. She was teaching her sons to be giving and to honor other people's holidays and traditions, and giving us a way to participate in Easter.
At the time, it all seemed unremarkable. As kids, we have nothing to compare to. But now I know, I was raised by Marion Rubenzahl, the Secret Jewish Easter Bunny.