Something to Peep About

Valerie with Sister Barbara (far left) and Nana (far right)

Those were the days… I could count on Easter for a new dress, patent leather shoes, and white socks trimmed ever so delicately in lace. But the pièce de résistance was the hat and matching gloves. Tradition.

I knew when we showed up at Nana’s one of those Panoramic Sugar Easter Eggs would be waiting for me. After the ham and scalloped potatoes lunch, sometimes we would make a trip to the convent. This group of jolly nuns would push the whirligig (also called the spinner or carousel), at high speed in their full habits, as the cross of Jesus bounced across their bosoms. An unforgettable (and happy) sight, and a moment in time where I felt like the universe did revolve around me.

I did out-grow the whirligig, but never the Easter Basket, filled annually in the night hours by the pagan Easter Bunny.  He was consistent every year in his delivery:

  • Jelly Bird Eggs
  • Robin Eggs
  • Peeps
  • Solid Milk Chocolate Eggs with pastel candy coatings
  • Plain chocolate eggs wrapped in beautiful silvery foil

The bounty was always entangled in a bed of green ‘grass’ that will take 500 years to decompose in a landfill. But it just isn’t Easter if the Jelly Bird Eggs aren’t snarled in a synthetic mess. Last but not least are my two oldies but goodies: the Easter Marshmallow Bunnies, Chicks and Eggs and the Brach’s Marshmallow Easter Hunt Eggs.

I can get a variation of the Robin Eggs any time of year (Whoppers) and Peeps are now sold year round in other shapes, but Brach’s Marshmallows, my all time favorite, are only stocked in local stores for the Easter season. Knowing they are a specialty item, I stopped into Walgreens two weeks ago to purchase a bag. To my horror, there were none to be found in my go-to candy aisle. There must be some mistake?

I went on a frantic Easter egg hunt to find the treat. Surely they are on the internet somewhere. After an extensive google search, I discovered EVERY store was sold out. So desperate, I even sent a text to my little sister to ransack the candy aisles in California. After hours of being crushed by the candy crisis, Jeffrey, on the official chat line,  delivered the sad news – The Marshmallow Easter Hunt Eggs that had been in my basket for over 50 years – RETIRED.

How’s a girl suppose to get through Jesus’s resurrection?

I shall miss my routine of daily pulling one Brach’s Marshmallow out of the bag, savoring every bite along with an icy cold glass of whole milk. As I mulled over the absence of this tradition, it occurred to me a crucial pattern of behavior had also changed. My daughter died on Easter Sunday, 2008 – fifteen years ago. Those first five years navigating through her Easter death were all but impossible. The Easter Bunny didn’t come, and I didn’t browse through the candy aisle at Walgreen’s. The days surrounding the holiday were a rainstorm of tears. Slowly things have changed. I did buy a bag of Brach’s marshmallow’s last year. On Wednesday, my cousin took me to the storage unit to resurrect my 66-year-old baskets, made with love by my Nana and paternal grandfather. I shed a few sprinkles of tears. But overall, this year I’ll be filling the baskets with all the best memories of Easter celebrations… and that is something to peep about.

Key Notes:

  • Peep is defined as a slight sound or utterance: What kid hasn’t heard, “I don’t want to hear a peep out of you.”
  • On average, 5.5 million Peeps are manufactured per day.
  • One of Peeps newest flavors is Peeps Hot Tamales. Sweet Jesus… come to Mama!
  • Need to peep into the history of Easter’s Marshmallow icon? Click here for a good read.
  • No patent Easter shoes and white gloves for me this year! – I’ll be smokin’ Belldini.

On A Lighter Note:

  • Whirligigs were rated as one of the most dangerous pieces of playground equipment, and were scrapped by the dozens in the 1980’s. No worries about my safety in the above picture. I was flying with nuns!
  • I would lick the Panoramic Sugar Easter Egg to death over a few weeks time, leaving the inside diorama homeless.
  • I’m almost to level 3,000 on Candy Crush.
Valerie’s First Easter Basket – Made by Nana – 1957
Valerie’s Second Easter Basket – Made by Paternal Grandfather – 1962

Category: Brach's Marshmallow Easter Hunt EggsDeath of a ChildEaster Basket



  1. I love the Nana baskets. Until I noticed they were ceramic, I wondered how they managed to make it for 50 years. I’m glad you reminded me of the panoramic eggs. Those were almost a memory lost. Lastly, I remember that dark Easter…I’m so grateful that a bit of light can shine on Resurrection Day for you at last.

  2. I absolutely love this! Man the memories. The shoes and hat. And new spring coat. They called them “dusters”. I dont know why! 🤣 We ate at Hilltop House every easter. Traditions. Cant believe 15 yrs has gone by.

  3. Oh yes the frilly socks and patent leather shoes and hat and gloves!! Wonderful Easter memories!!

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Article by: Valerie Bourdain

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