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Stay-At-Home Easter
April 13, 2020

This Easter finds me in the mood for reflection. It started with an article in yesterday’s Daily Journal in which Janet Hommel Mangas writes about the history of Easter services in Johnson County. She references an interview with “the late Kenneth Arnold who pastored Mt. Pleasant from 1960-1980.” That’s my dad.

Mangas also mentions the Easter sunrise service held at the Meridian Drive-In movie theater on 135. When I was really young, I remember attending that service, my two sisters and me sitting in the back seat, dressed in our pajamas. The service was broadcast over a speaker which was hung over our car window. I also remember something about hot chocolate and maybe doughnuts.

For the three daughters of Pastor Ken and Maggie Arnold, Easter was a big deal. A few weeks prior, we made the annual pilgrimage to L.S. Ayres downtown Indianapolis for new Sunday dresses, hats, gloves, patent leather shoes, and lace socks. This must have been about half of my family’s clothing budget for the year. Now remember, these shoes would serve as our Sunday shoes for the next 12 months. I’ve written here before about the trauma of the yellow Easter shoes.

My dad drove us downtown, and perhaps the biggest treat of all was stopping for White Castle hamburgers on the way home. And then we had the long wait until the glorious morning when we finally got to wear our finery.

We had Easter baskets, but church–and our new dresses–was definitely the focus of the day. My mom would have washed my hair the night before and curled it on pink sponge rollers. Maggie would pull a Spring dress from her closet and my dad would stand proudly in the pulpit in his robin-egg blue sports jacket. The sanctuary was decorated with white Lilies and there was lots of music and a long sermon, but I had my gloves and purse to entertain me through the hour and a half that felt like three.

After church, we loaded up and drove to my Granny Letha’s in Greenfield for a big Easter dinner and an egg hunt with my cousins. My grandma worked at Fannie Mae Candy. I’m not even sure if they still make them, but she had a jumbo-sized chocolate egg for each of us. Mine was the lone white chocolate one with a buttery cream filling. Yes, my mouth is watering as I type this.

I’m missing my parents today. I’m missing massive pieces of white chocolate and my Grandma and colored eggs and I’m wondering if women would ever go back to hats and gloves. I always lost a glove and I can tell you the hats we wore itched, and the elastic band was a menace under one’s chin, but for one Sunday a year, it was so worth it.

May this Stay-At-Home Easter provide the opportunity for us all to remember. To reminisce. To reflect.









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  1. Oh my goodness! I just read this and I remember going to White Castle with your family! Fun times.

  2. I love reading these.  Thanks for sharing. Nancy


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Debi Dixon

Debi Dixon

The Universe is guiding me on an incredible adventure: my Plan B. I write here to share bits of my Odyssey, hopefully to inspire, encourage, or extend the virtual hand of friendship.

When I quit teaching in 2014, I could never have imagined the growth I would experience through travel, writing, reading, therapy, and introspection.

I believe human connection and compassion will go a long way toward our healing, and the best way to connect and feel compassion for one another is through the sharing of our stories.

Thank you for joining me here. I appreciate you and may we grow together.

Inspirational Quote

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
~Joseph Campbell

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