Connections: Rabbit Season

Times change. Private rituals become commercially sponsored events

   My 5-year-old granddaughter, Nettie, is good at wishful thinking. I doubt that an adult gave her the idea that if you told the Easter Bunny, like Santa, what you wanted, you probably would get it. I am sure the bunny left her and her 3-year-old brother, Teddy, baskets with appropriate goodies on Easter morning, but leaving the bunny a note about what she wanted for (ahem) Easter must have been her own idea. And it was a two-sided note at that.
    Because she is still learning to read and write, and because I know her parents wouldn’t have indulged her in this, my guess is that she had encouragement and help from a baby sitter. (I had helped her write two stories, about a dog and cat who defeated a dragon and about a mermaid who wanted a pet dolphin, on a recent visit.)
    On one side of Nettie’s note it said: “Plase can I have a black kitten that never grows pu.” The spelling of please and the reversed u and p were testimony to a child’s hand. On the other side of the note, she wrote: “Dear Easter Bunny please can I have an iPod my mom and dad said yes.” Her parents had said no such thing.
    An e-mail about Nettie’s notes capped a weekend in Bunny Land. East Hampton certainly goes all out for kids on Easter these days. There were at least three community egg hunts and there had been at least two a weekend earlier, in East Hampton and Amagansett alone. When my own children were little, we relied on family and friends for egg hunts. For many years, we gathered at Mary Ella and Jim Reutershan’s place at Stony Hill, in Amagansett. An expanse in front of their house sloped downward from a low brick wall at the edge of a patio and the grassy area was surrounded by bushes and trees. It was full of perfect hiding places for kids of a range of ages. It was a great party, and it was the 1970s: Those were raucous events for the grownups, bloody Marys and all.
    One year, my daughter, the same person who didn’t approve of an iPod for her daughter, decided she was too old for egg hunts. Instead, she went to the party in a bunny outfit she made herself, starting with a pink leotard and tights, and hopped around giving the littler kids foil-wrapped eggs.
    Times change. Private rituals become commercially sponsored events. The Easter Bunny at the community egg hunt at Amagansett Square on Saturday was more than six feet tall, and he/she was a friendly sort, squatting to hold babies while parents took photos of them in the bunny’s arms and squatting to shake hands or give high fives to little people. The event, staged by the Meeting House restaurant at the Square, was fun, and it was jammed, as I hear the other hunts were that day. Kids dashed about to find eggs, and were then invited to decorate eggs or cookies and to have their faces painted.
    The family Easter egg hunt migrated from my house to my son and daughter-in-law’s this year. They served bagels and lox, cream cheese and tofu, cake pops, and fruit — but there wasn’t a Bloody Mary in sight.