Writer’s Workshop: There Goes Peter Cottontail…

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay

I was trying to think of something that I missed this week, then I remembered that this past Sunday was Easter, and I really gave little or no thought to it. In fact, Lent this year kind of slipped past me, and I don’t think I gave it a second thought.

Easter was a big deal in our family, particularly with my mother, who was known as “Bunny” because she was born on Holy Saturday. Oddly enough, she died on Good Friday 68 years later. (Coincidentally, Mary was also born on Holy Saturday, in another year, of course.) Easter dinner was as big a deal as Christmas dinner, except instead of turkey, we had either ham or leg o’ lamb, but we had all the fixin’s besides (sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, a couple of different vegetables, mint jelly with leg o’ lamb, for whatever reason). And, after dinner, we had a lamb cake for dessert, at least when I was younger. That was a yellow cake covered with white frosting and coconut, made in the shape of a lamb. Years later, an old guy who was a friend of mine from the Holy Name Society told me he used to make the lamb cakes. I guess he had lamb-shaped baking pans and he’d bake both sides, then stick them together with frosting. I don’t know if people make the lamb cakes anymore.

We didn’t get presents at Easter, of course, but we got something almost as good: candy. My favorites were always the Marshmallow Peeps, which I would eat “on the fly”: my brothers would toss them and I would catch them and stuff them in my mouth, all in one motion. (Yes, I know I’ve told you that before…) Mom had a sweet tooth as well, and loved “jelly bird eggs,” which were basically jelly beans, but were a little tastier than the run-of-the-mill ones. Not exactly Jelly Belly, but tasty nonetheless. And chocolate everything: bunnies, eggs (both solid and marshmallow-filled), chicks, you name it. When we got older we used to set up each other’s Easter baskets and hide them. It was a fun tradition.

So to go from where Easter was a major big deal to where it almost passes without a second thought is strange. I realize that this year has been more than a little different, since churches around here were closed for Easter (the one day a year where they should be open) to avoid the spread of Covid-19, restaurants were shut down, there were no sports on TV because all the sports are stopped until further notice, there were no Easter TV specials, not even It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown or some Hallmark movie like Love In An Easter Basket, and I doubt we would have watched any of that, anyway.

Well, I’m not going to just let it pass by. From UPA, who produced cartoons like Mr. Magoo and Dick Tracy’s Crimestopperrs! as well as the swingin’ version of Frosty The Snowman, here’s Peter Cottontail.

22 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: There Goes Peter Cottontail…

  1. Oh my, that’s a nostalgic old cartoon! Thanks for sharing your beautiful memories of Easter. As for Easter candy, it’s chocolate marshmallow anything for me. Glad you’re safe and well.


  2. As our grandchildren have gotten older, some of the Easter fun has disappeared although, I usually make them all a Easter Basket. But, not this year as we’ve been doing the necessary “distancing”. I missed that, terribly.

    Spent time this past Sunday thinking back to one of our best Easter Egg Hunts, ever, when we awoke to a pretty significant snowfall. I grabbed a bowlful of un-dyed hard-boiled eggs and went out on the front lawn to hide all the goodies. The kids found a few items but none of the eggs which were hidden in the snow. They were outside for quite a long time. We cheered them on from a safe, warm, distance…Mimosas in hand.


    1. Mom was so into Easter that you couldn’t help but pick up on her enthusiasm. Of course all of us were in Chicago, and we had dinner at one of Mom’s sister’s houses, and while it was fantastic and so good to spend time with my family, it just wasn’t the same. I think she would have been really depressed during this crisis.


  3. Oh that’s right, I could have written about Easter! Gosh it really did pass without a ton of fanfare. We celebrated at home and then hid Easter eggs in my mom’s front yard so that she could watch my kids hunt from the window. 🙂 So we did celebrate as best we could, but went right back to worrying about this stupid virus. Can you develop a vaccine for it so that we can all move on with our lives?


  4. Lamb cake. That’s an really interesting coconut cake. Cute. I don’t thing network television has at all risen to the occasion for entertainment while everyone has been stuck at home these past 6 weeks. I would’ve expected maybe a movie or two–at least some effort to depart the routine schedule. Why not pull out classic 1939 Wizard of Oz for a popcorn Friday night? (even make it commercial free) Disney could’ve run a Pixar Toy Story every Sunday night on ABC for 4 weeks. No creativity there whatsoever. I just saw regular programming on the schedule. Not everyone uses streaming services and I’m sure many families would’ve enjoyed it.


    1. Perhaps, back in the day when TV stations and networks saw their job as entertaining families and putting shows on that people actually wanted to see, that would have been the case. Today, it’s all about filling 168 hours a week as cheaply as possible. You’re right, not everyone uses streaming services and there are still a few people (ourselves included) who get their televised entertainent over-the-air using an antenna. It’d be nice if they remembered that.


  5. When I was a child, my mom would buy me a new Easter dress every year and I would get an Easter basket full of goodies. I’ve not seen a lamb cake but we would have ham with all of the fixings. After our meal, we would go on an Easter egg hunt to find the eggs we dyed the night before. Some traditions have gone by the wayside and others are just on hold. There’s always next year, and so it goes…


  6. I have fond memories of Easter because my mom was so good in making every holiday special. Later, my Aunt and Uncle would visit with the 3 kids and we would all paint Eggs creating some different masterpieces..lol. I love the old Peter Cottontail cartoon. I do miss what they used to show on tv. I know the same people who did Rudolph and Santa Claus is Coming To Town Made an Easter cartoon. The regular stations would play The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur on. Good Friday and Easter Saturday plus Easter Parade would be played …to bad that is not happening any more. I did see the Heston films were on but the week before..sad


    1. I always liked the movie version of “Jesus Christ, Superstar.” They’d show that late at night on Good Friday in Chicago. Another station had the silent “King of Kings,” which was a minor masterpiece. ABC would run “The Ten Commandments” and “Ben Hur” on their Sunday night movie. Now that Ted Turner bought every old movie (or so it seems) and only plays them on Turner Classic Movies, we don’t get much of a chance to see them.


  7. Hi John – well done … I’d never heard of lamb cake – but we just used to have a family Easter and lots of eggs hidden in the garden or house depending on the weather! Wonderful Peter Rabbit Cottontail … cartoons were so simple then – take care – Hilary


    1. And yet the cartoons were entertaining. We didn’t care that they weren’t perfect, they were fun.

      For some reason, my family never got into the Easter Egg hunt, probably because we were city people and didn’t have big yards to hold them in. We hid the Easter baskets and went looking for them. One year my grandparents did such a good job hiding my aunt’s that she never found it…


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