Several weeks before April 11, 1971, Easter Sunday, Mother began making me a new suit. The material was the softest, quietest light blue with small specks of knotted raised threads of varying colors throughout. It was a vest and slacks, and she purchased a long sleeve white shirt with pale stripes of blue, green, red, and yellow.
The fittings were unending. I can recall standing on a dining room chair as she knelt to stab the material with the pins. Her square wicker sewing box, a deep pink with a painted wooden lid was always nearby. The dining room table held her Singer sewing machine she’d had since high school graduation.
Easter Sunday arrived and I was to attend church with my maternal great-grandfather, Virgil Brewer Barmes, and his second wife, Ruth. Grandpa Virgil, with assistance from his son, my Grandpa Leroy, had completed building their country house which was thirteen miles south of Elwood and two miles north of Lapel, Indiana. This Easter Sunday would gather all the family at the new house with ample room on the property for all kinds of games.
The four children of Virgil and Thelma Barmes, Leroy, Evelyn, Norma, and Danny, and their families arrived at 1 PM for dinner. It was the first time Mother made her traditional bunny-head cake with shredded coconut serving as the fur.
After dinner, the family games commenced. There were games fitting for all ages, young and older. I was caught in an age gap being too old for the younger games and too young for the older ages games. I split my time in both areas. I remember my older cousins welcoming me to play Bad Minton, croquet, and volleyball. Later, toward evening, we drove to a country location that had a large ball field with a nice wood and wire backstop. It was one of the most incredible softball games in my memory. Grandpa Virgil and Grandpa Leroy had been minor league baseball players, and my uncles were just as talented.
It was to be our last Easter with Grandpa Virgil who died the following September 1st. Aside from his funeral, it was probably the last time the entire family was gathered in one setting.