All posts by Marie Coppola

Marie Coppola A long-time human resources administrator and paralegal (B.S. in Business Administration/ Psychology, Certified Paralegal), Marie writes to aid employees with positive career options and resources, and to assist in career development solutions for students and employees; counsels on resumes, securing employment, and being successful with promotable possibilities. Marie finds inspiration in her faith, which she enjoys passing on to others, and finds gratification in helping others wherever she can. Got a question, need advice? Marie can be reached at mcopp@ymail.com

DIY Personalized Gifts

 

We all love hand-made personalized gifts.  They are very special and one of a kind.  We think of the giver every time we use them or see them.

My personal favorite is to make a memory book for children or grandchildren.   You can buy some really nice memory scrapbooks for $10 or less; make sure it is a nice sturdy one.

When our family all relocated around the same time, I found tons of old report cards, school pictures, mementos, certificates and cards that I had saved in the attic.   When each family member packed things up, no one wanted the ‘junk’ as they called it. I couldn’t leave all these cherished memories, and put everything in one big box and moved it with me.  After the move, I went through the ‘junk’ box, which were really family memories of the kids’ growth and accomplishments.  I sorted them into 3 piles, one for son and one for daughter–and one for combined memories of their formative years (grandparents, parents, pets, house pictures, etc.)  I recopied some of them to a smaller size so the book would not be so voluminous!   The whole project took me 3 months and I worked on it a little each day: I have to say I looked forward to creating it each day, reliving those memories.  I made each book differently.

• In the beginning of each book, there were pictures of grandparents & parents weddings, dates, pictures, and houses. I brought the pictures I wanted to use to a store to copy them or you can copy them at home if your copier does a good job.  It might cost about the same.

• Both books had the same beginnings of history until it came to the part when each was born.

• The next portion was of their own history from my pregnancy to birth including photos. Then their school years.  I selected specific award letters, or special reports or school activities about each one and copied and reduced them so I could fit many in places on the pages.

• I copied quotes and special readings from the internet or scriptures and pasted them alongside pictures and events and awards.

• Each portion of ‘personal’ notes were for each book & them personally.

• The last section was ‘where they were now’ and included degrees, special interests, new houses, new babies, etc.

It helped my own project that I sent a book to my sister because it was fun to do and for her to make one for her daughter. She and I shared this memory-lane project and she found pictures I didn’t have and vice versa. I was able to discard the ‘junk’ box once I had copied and pasted all the memories in the book.

Although I knew both my son and daughter would enjoy receiving this ‘memory’ and collection of family pictures, I had no idea how revered and special it would become to them. They showcase them and take these books out all the time to look at old pictures–aunts and uncles and old cars and houses we lived in.

The last gift selection is not a DIY, but a gift idea. Hand-made items such as needlepoint and yes, they are special gifts from the heart and hands, and cherished. I do not do needlepoint, crochet or knit. What I do, is attend our own as well as other church craft fairs where neighbors and or friends portray their handiwork for sale at most reasonable prices. I have purchased a hand-knit sweater ($8.00) and a matching shawl ($8.00); hand-knit bags ($10.00) and many other lovely scarves, aprons, baby clothes, blankets, home and holiday gifts for $10 and under. Don’t pass by church craft sales – stop and shop; they are one of a kind and professionally hand-made. These ladies know their trade.  Happy gifting!

© Marie Coppola Revised November 2019

 

 
 

Volunteer – You May Land a Job!


If you are having little success looking for a job, you may consider volunteering. Whether you are unemployed, looking for a career change, are a recent college graduate or transitioning back into the workplace, this can work out well for you for many reasons.

Besides learning new skills and/or investigating what field you have the most interest in, volunteering enables you to test a job environment without a long-term commitment.

Volunteering provides a benefit also found also in temporary assignments — it is a way to ‘test the waters’ of a career choice. It also gives you a head’s up on the organization’s job openings. You learn how the organization is run, what the employees and managment are like and if you would be comfortable working there.  I worked at a temp agency that  placed me in a job where I was offered employment — for 25 years.

If your work ethic is a good one and you have performed your volunteer job tasks successfully, you may be considered as a prime candidate to fit an upcoming position. Many people began successful careers as volunteers. Your age or experience won’t matter as much as how you get the work accomplished. And your performance ‘on the job’ is your best resume.

You, as a volunteer, can find out first-hand about the organization’s mission, which is usually a nonprofit entity. Search for one that you would like to work for – especially one you have an interest in or passion in what they accomplish. In “Excuse Me, Your Job is Waiting: Attract the Work you Want”, it is said, “It’s a passion that sends out good vibrations. When somebody is passionate about what they are doing, they are doing their best. The people around them see them at their best and want to work with them…..and come to mind when a paying job is available.”

If your passion runs super high and you ‘really want a job there’ be careful not to press too much. Repeated reminders to the staff about how important it is to ‘work a real job’ and make countless inquires into what’s available is a turn-off and you may not be considered for a job there if one does come up.

Some opportunities can arise if you volunteer one, two, three times a week or even one day a month.  There are temporary agencies who can even give you a good reference and you will get paid, too!   Even if you don’t get the job where you volunteer, you can investigate a new field, add new skills to your portfolio as well as acquire valuable networking contacts that may help your job search. If you did your best as if it were a paying job, you can procure an excellent letter of recommendation.

Marie Coppola October 2019

http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/index.jsp?l=Charleston%2CSC&k=nonprofit+organizations

Ref: Quintessential Careers: Sharon Reed http://www.quintcareers.com/volunteering_to_new_career.html

Leadership Exemplar CEO – Jesus Christ


Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership 

Many books have been written about good examples of leadership. The book, Jesus, CEO; Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership by Laurie Beth Jones is well-written, and a highly useful example of the characteristics of biblically-based leadership applicable to our management world today. Her book brings together the hard and soft skills of love, inspiration and good will into any organization’s leaders or team leaders.

A preface in the introduction of this book states: “One person trained twelve human beings who went on to so influence the world that time itself is recorded as being before (B.C.) or after (A.D.) his existence.

 

This person worked with a staff that was totally human and not divine…a staff that in spite of illiteracy, questionable backgrounds, fractious feelings, and momentary cowardice went on to accomplish the tasks he trained them to do. They did this for one main reason – to be with him again.

His leadership style was intended to be put to use by any of us.” Much can be learned from Jesus’ visionary leadership style today as much as it was 2000 years ago.

The author, a successful businesswoman, believes that Jesus’ management style incorporates the best of masculine and feminine leadership styles, by harnessing spiritual energy, so that both males and females can become empowered leaders. She explains that this can be done by using three categories of strengths: 1] the strength of self-mastery; 2] the strength of action and 3] the strength of relationships.

The chapters are easily read and translate the process by which Jesus performed the above categories of strengths. Some of the chapter titles are self-explanatory and to the point of each chapter.

Self-Mastery

His Statements are What he Becomes

He Kept in Constant Contact with his Boss

He Stuck to his Mission

He Believed in Himself

He Guarded his Energy

He did not Waste Time Judging Others

He had a Passionate Commitment to the Cause

He Worked through his Fears

Strength of Action

He took Action

He had a Plan; He formed a Team

He Broke Ranks; He Came from Left Field and Branched Out

He Trained his Replacements

Strength of Relationships

He Clearly Defined their Work-related Benefits

He Treated them as Equals

He Held them Accountable

He Set an Example for Them

He Looked out for the Little Guys; He Served Them; Defended Them and Gave Them Authority

He Loved Them to the End

This book is described as a must-read for college business courses. It exhibits the core competencies of training and soft skills.

© Marie Coppola   Revised October 2019

Coping With Loss of a Loved One

Many folks retire to our southern states and South Carolina is one of them.   Our demographics show that we have many seniors in our area.  Seniors can bring a wealth of ideas and  experience, as well as  time and efforts towards a community.

One thing seniors have in common that is in their future: one of them will lose their life-long partner.  It is a joy to share our golden years with someone we have been together with for decades.   Suddenly being without them makes one not function as they did at their pre-loss capacity.   But you can take steps to ensure your life doesn’t fall apart while you are in the midst of it.

Grief is a complex situation.  And when you are in the throes of it, one may find it difficult to do almost anything else.   Many people just want the pain to end but are convinced it never will.   Reaching out to others and accepting support is often difficult when you are hurting so much.  It’s best to seek those persons who will ‘walk with”, not “in front of” or ‘behind” you in your journey with grief.

There is a free grief program called Grief Share where the members will walk ‘with you’.   We have many such groups in our area – you can find one online at www.griefshare.org   Put in your zip code and you will find these wonderful programs that are mostly held in our church communities.   They are offered free to the whole community and are Biblically-based  concepts  to cope with grief ; they are nondenominational.  GriefShare addresses the loss of spouses, children, family members and close friends.  The program right now is not designed for divorces or pets.   All faiths  and atheists are invited.

The program consists of 13 sessions [one day a week for 13 weeks].  Each session consists of a video seminar featuring  grief recovery experts.   A small support group discussion follows.  There is a workbook journal & exercises for each session.  Workbooks cost $15 – the only cost to you and you don’t have to purchase it.

The atmosphere is friendly and supportive.   It is a ‘safe environment’ where confidentiality and bonds are formed.

Often,  friends and family want to help you but don’t know how.  That’s the reason Grief Share was formed.   The groups are led by caring people who have experienced grief and have successfully rebuilt their lives.    We understand how you feel because we’ve been in the same place.  We will walk with you on the long path of grief toward healing and hope for the future.   Our groups in SC are part of a network of 12,000+ churches worldwide that offer GriefShare support issues.

Many new bonds and friendships are formed at the meeting; healing results from shared experiences and ways to cope with one’s loss.

But you will have begun the process.  And the only way forward is to put one step in front of the other.   GriefShare helps to do that.   This newspaper and church notices/bulletins will announce when these sessions will take place.

Marie Coppola    October 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forgive and Forget

 

There are times in life when a good friend, a family member or even a mate can hurt your feelings by mistake, on purpose or thoughtlessness.   Sometimes their bad behavior could be spiteful, selfish, or just being in a mean mood.   On the high end, someone could have personality disorders, drug interactions or just plain retaliation or ‘place in family’.   In today’s world, it could be interactions about political issues.   You might take time off from these challenges of differences, or say you are finished with this person(s)  and even hold a grudge.

I read recently that forgiveness is important in one’s life.   Actually, it is good for you.  On a health note, forgiving someone can improve your cholesterol levels, make you sleep better, reduce your risk of heart attack, lower your blood pressure and improve your relationships.   On the dark side if you hold onto that grudge & anger, you can have heart problems, raise cholesterol, boost hypertension and even lead to depression and more stress.

A University of Michigan School of Medicine recent study showed that 2,000 middle-aged men showed that those who dealt with their anger had half as many strokes over a 7-year period as those who didn’t deal with their anger.   How did they do that?

Forgiveness helps you take control again; it doesn’t mean you aren’t expected to trust the hurtful person or even continue your relationship with them.

But you can try some ‘Forgiveness Strategies’ that help you manage your anger & hurt.

  1.  Reframe the situation in a different light:  Don’t dwell on why the hurt was done to you but rather ask yourself “Why am I letting this hurt me?”  And try to stop  going over and over the initial hurt.

2.  Give yourself time to come to grips with the hurt.   Feeling the hurt allows healing to take place.   It will feel like one step forward and one step back but take that one step forward & try not to go back.

3.  Ask yourself questions as you would to a friend…”Did you play a part in the hurt situation or was the other person wrong?’  Is there another side to look at?   What would or could you have done differently?  If you can’t ‘see  it’, ask a friend valued d or a fair family member for their feedback.

4.  Did the other person involved have any idea what they did and how much it hurt you?   Could it possibly have been a misunderstanding?

5.  When remembering the incident makes you feel hurt again, focus on all the good things in life that you enjoy and neutralize the bad feeling.

6.  I am adding one of my own ways to neutralize hurt.   Pray for the person who hurt you and ask God to forgive them as He forgives us.   It is somewhat difficult at first to pray for one who has hurt you but it becomes easier and the bad feelings do go away.   Prayer works.

Some thoughts to ponder:  Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years and chose to forgive his captors.

In 1981, Pope John Paul II was crossing St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City when an attempt was made on his life.  Two bullets struck the pope in his lower intestine, one in his right arm and one in his left index finger.  The Pope met and publicly forgave the would-be assassin.

Jesus, dying on the cross after mistreatment, severe scourging, beatings & whippings,  said the prayer, “Forgive them, Father; they know not what they do”.

In a book by Mark Miller, he states that the people who did best in tragic relationships were those who found “forgiving was a way to restore balance and peace in their own lives even if they did not condone the misdeeds.”

Sometimes the person who is hardest to forgive is oneself.   Forgiveness helps you to take control again of your feelings.  Give the hurt to God and don’t take it back.

Marie Coppola September 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop Sitting and Get Up

 

 

Do you sit more than you stand or exercise?  In these technological times, many hours are spent sitting in front of a computer or tablet.   You probably sit at your desk answering emails, paying bills, or going on media news or Hollywood news to see who did what to whomever.

We order clothes and gifts online and send greeting cards online.  We even do our social life online – checking out 450 friends on Facebook or Instagram.   There’s many social aspects online;  connect with old friends, reminisce and/or get reacquainted, make new ‘friends’, catching  up on personal messages and post pictures of your mates and kids and compare your photos to others’ selfies.  People complain that Facebook has taken over their lives but  considering how popular it is, it is a choice they choose.  And we  sit and sit and take it all in.    When you are done, you may spend more time sitting  with  other PC-related video games and enough apps to keep you busy trying them all.

Add our cell phones to the above and we sit again – even if in groups or at the dinner table – with cell phones in everyone’s hands and typing away in conversations while humans are next to you typing away in conversations, too.   You could talk to those next to you, but they are busy in their own world just as you are.   You get tired of sitting so much at the computer, so you put on the TV and sit some more.

These folks’ are living what are called ‘sedentary lifestyles’.

A sedentary lifestyle is a medical term used to denote a type of lifestyle with a lack of physical exercise.  We have morphed into a society that spends many hours sitting down.   Being sedentary makes you more susceptible to diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity and other health conditions such as high blood pressure, COPD and more .   Surprisingly, all this inactivity also makes you tired, sluggish, and mentally inactive.   You need to move around, get your circulation going and rev up your metabolism.   If it’s raining, go to a mall and walk – not shop.

It’s even more important for youngsters to get fresh air and get outside – not spend hours with video games or their cells.   Get them interested in a sport program; it is an all-rounded plus.

How much time do you spend living your life sitting down ?

Do you exercise regularly?   Do you walk at least 20 minutes to a half hour every day as cardio doctors always suggest?   Why not make exercise a part-time job that you do at home?

It is habit forming and more effective if you ‘report’ to your part-time  ‘job’ the same time everyday.   Tell friends and family that you took on a part-time job every day from 11:00 pm to noon or whenever is convenient to ‘do the job’.   It may be that there is an exercise program on TV that you can work out with. If not, put on your sneakers and go for a walk or dance to your favorite music.   You may even lose some poundage.

Besides exercising,  it’s important everyday to get up from your chair, stretch and walk around for a few minutes – even if it is to get a glass of water.   Don’t leave water by your desk; get up and get a drink.   Exercise your eyes by rolling them from side to side and look out the window at a distance since you have been working close up and in a glare.   If you have stairs inside or outside – use them – they are a good exercise.  After using your legs,   you’ll feel better and can continue  to use those legs to go outside, get the mail and take time to smell the roses.   Pick some.   Walk down the street and give them to a neighbor.  You don’t have to stop and chat – look like you are busy and going somewhere In a hurry.   You are.  You are in a hurry to improve your health.

Get up and shake your booty.  Walk or exercise – it will make you feel better and can be a life-saver.

Marie Coppola  September 2019

A Wise & Trusted Counselor

A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could because someone else thought they could. ~ Unknown

Can you remember a time when someone gave you support, or important counsel, sound advice or positive reinforcement on something you were doing?

Encouragement is an important support and guidance motivation given by a more knowledgeable person (such as a mentor) in helping a less experienced or knowledgeable person (mentee) to develop in some capacity.

Many times, parents are mentors. They have the experience and know-how in “How the World Turns”. They may have gone to college, experienced love relationships, had children, bought houses, paid taxes, and countless other things.  Hopefully, they are good mentors who encourage, support and guide their children in their everyday challenges.   Sometimes, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, or  family members are mentors.  They are the ones to go to when one needs to know what can be done about a special issue; they either give good advice or advise options on how to work at it.   We are indeed blessed if we have mentors in our lives.

What if we don’t have a mentor? There are many occasions when ‘two heads are better than one’ and additional input is needed. How does one acquire a mentor? Are there different avenues or vehicles for finding one?   Yes, there are.

There are personal mentors and organizational mentors.
How can a  personal mentor help you?    Sometime during your lifetime, someone may take a special interest in how you are accomplishing a task or trying to.  It may be in a teacher or principal in school.  It could be a leader or coach in an activity in an athletic or after-school activity. Or a girl or boy scout leader in a social club. Or perhaps a pastor or spiritual leader in a church affiliation.   It could be a family member who has the same interests or experiences in what you are trying to master – a job interview;  which courses or schools you could attend to pursue a career; what career choices would you be best suited for.

A mentor is usually someone older and more accomplished in the task you are endeavoring. He/she will give you feedback on how you are accomplishing so far;  give you advice or hints/solutions on how to continue;  or reinforce how you are progressing. This is a one-on-one relationship which lasts over the time of the task’s duration.

You might even seek someone out and ask them to be your mentor on a task.  It doesn’t hurt to ask. Most people like to help and may feel honored that you chose them.  If the person is agreeable, you could set up a schedule to go over the progress of what you are doing and the mentor can advise plusses and minuses. Depending on the personalities, this person could become a life-long mentor who can aid you in further tasks.  Sometimes it evolves into a mentoring over a variety of life’s issues. Such an arrangement can benefit both the mentor and the mentee.   And form a special, honored life-time relationship.

Marie Coppola  August 2019

School is Re-Opening

The first day of school for Horry County students is Monday, August 19.   In the past, I covered some suggestions for students returning to middle school; today I will focus on the teens.

Whatever the grade or year,  the upbeat reason to return to school is to acquire wisdom, knowledge, and skills that will allow creativity and thought-provoking processes as well as behavioral and social experiences.  These can be sometimes challenging and/or frustrating — but it can also be fun times with clubs, sports, class trips, and special activities.  Also on the plus side, there are friendships formed that can last a lifetime and even short friendship spurts that teach versatility and diversity in getting along with others.  Having a  ‘special’ teacher can be an influence or mentor in future endeavors.

Guidelines and rules for school behavior are similar to those that students’ parents may have had, but here’s some extra tips to return to school starting with a really good attitude. I offer the following – for the returning students.

1) “Rules” cover a multitude of guidelines that all schools set forth for their students. Everyone must follow them if there is to be order and learning. Rules are important because you will be asked to follow rules all your life.  And it causes stress and problems if you don’t abide by them. This is as true in school as it is in your life now or will be in your adult life.

2) You will follow rules better if you have plenty of rest.   You will succeed better in school.   Try to have at least eight hours of sleep on a school night.   This is especially true if you have after-school clubs or sports and need that extra energy.

3) Speaking of extra energy, eat a healthy breakfast (yes, you have the time) to last until lunchtime.  Even some fruit, cereal or a protein bar  will help.   If you don’t like the lunches, pack a sandwich or snack.

4) Using cell phones, iPods, and other electronic devices are usually strictly prohibited during the school day. Yes, that includes texting. Cell phones are distracting not only during class but in the halls.  If you can’t control yourself – then leave them home or silenced.  An extra thought on cell phones:  I’ve noticed with  my teen visitors this summer – they stay on their cell phones way into the night (undercover) and have trouble getting awake in the morning.   You can’t sleep until noon when you are going to school.   If you can’t resist – shut them off and leave them in another room.

5) Although we all get colds or sick, try to attend class regularly and be on time. It is important to ‘keep up’ with new lessons and equally important to be on time so that your tardiness does not take away from class time.  Besides, it will affect  your school record which won’t matter to you now but may in the future.

6) Do your homework and check it twice. Homework done hastily or while playing video games can affect your grade if it is incorrect. Give it your best efforts – it reflects who you are and what you know and how you express it.   Prepare a place to do your homework; prepare what you are wearing the next day; and if you are making your lunch, prepare it at night so you won’t be rushing to get the bus or that ride early in the morning.

Hint:  How you set up a schedule of what you are expected to do (when & how)  will help you when you are looking for a job after graduation.   Being prepared  will naturally assist you in your work habits and style.

7) Try to be friendly to all. Avoid ’cliques’ or being rude to other students who may be different. It can escalate to bullying or cyber bullying or discrimination which are detriments to all.   Two out of three kids who are bullied become bullies themselves.  Worse yet, a bully is 6 times more likely to be incarcerated by age 24.   Tell your parents or the school admin if you are being bullied; they will come to your aid.

If you follow the rules, you can have a pleasant learning experience that will prepare you for adult life.  If there are situations that arise that are against school rules or are questionable in safety to you or others, don’t hesitate to notify a teacher or the principal. They want everyone in their school to have a safe environment.

I added this next thought for the middle school and will here, too.  ‘Take a  slogan from the Army — Be All That You Can Be.’ It doesn’t mean living up to anyone else’s standards or trying to get a better grade than Amy, Juan or Tawanda – it’s  simply doing the best work you can to your ability and being the best kind of person you want to be.   It’s all up to you.  Have a great and successful school year.

© Marie Coppola, August 2019

Did Mother Teresa Teach Hillary a Lesson?

Being pro-life, I keep a file on its struggles to save babies from a gruesome death.

In a Vatican ceremony on September 4, 2016, Pope Francis conferred sainthood upon Mother Teresa, the Albanian-born nun who famously devoted most of her life to ministering to the poor in India until her death in 1997 at the age of 87. He described her as a “model of holiness” and “generous dispenser of divine mercy,” citing, among other qualifications, Mother Teresa’s unwavering opposition to abortion in any form. “She was committed to defending life,” the Pope said, “ceaselessly proclaiming that ‘the unborn are the weakest, the smallest, the most vulnerable.’”

For Americans, the canonization of Mother Teresa coincided with the home stretch of the 2016 presidential campaign, in which the two principal candidates delivered prepared speeches.  Their remarks were not as intriguing as pro-abortionist, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the same dais.

She appeared to have been genuinely moved by her previous meeting with Mother Teresa.  In 1994 Mother Teresa delivered a no-holds-barred pro-life speech [in quotes below] at the National Prayer Breakfast in front of Hillary Clinton, her equally pro-abortion husband, then-President Bill Clinton, and Al and Tipper Gore:

“But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.

And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts.  Jesus gave even His life to love us.   So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child.  The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.

By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems.

And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.

Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.”

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan was present.   Here’s what she later wrote:

‘Well, silence. Cool deep silence in the cool round cavern for just about 1.3 seconds. And then applause started on the right hand side of the room, and spread, and deepened, and now the room was swept with people applauding, and they would not stop for what I believe was five or six minutes. As they clapped they began to stand, in another wave from the right of the room to the center and the left.’

But not everyone applauded. The president and first lady, seated within a few feet of Mother Teresa on the dais, were not applauding. Nor were the vice president and Mrs. Gore. They looked like seated statues at Madame Tussaud’s. They glistened in the lights and moved not a muscle, looking at the speaker in a determinedly semi-pleasant way.

Secretary Clinton quipped, “That’s a tall order,” followed by (alas), “And of course, one of the interpretive problems with it is, who defines good?”

July 17, 2019

 

Easter in the 1950’s

 

Looking back and reminiscing about Easter times,  it is remembered as a different holiday culture than it is today.   Sometimes there was the arrival of a real rabbit or baby chicks.   They were pampered and soon argued over who would take care of them.   They were never cooked and eaten  – but were found new homes as they grew older.

On Easter Sunday, the ladies would don their Easter bonnets – straw hats, felt hats, big hats, mantillas or any head covering.   Even the men & boys wore fedoras to go along with their suits and ties.   The ladies dressed in pastels or navy blue dresses or suits.   New spring outfits were purchased for the newness of spring .  The only other time we all got new attire  was for the first day of school.   New outfit, new shoes – the works – along with some hand-me-downs.   If you lived not far from the ocean, and the weather was warm and spring-like, jaunts were taken to the beach (also known as – the shore) to walk the boardwalk with other Easter bonnet and fedora dress-ups.

The only ones who may not have been fully dressed in newness were the youngest of the family – they wore the past-Easter outfits of their older sisters or brothers and it was not unusal for some Easter picture remembrances showing a new navy coat covering a slightly longer dress underneath – an almost fitting  Easter dress passed down.

The parents were dressed up, too – suits, hat and ties – and don’t forget the white gloves and black patent leather shoes.   Some of these were passed down through the family, too.

When we woke up that morning, we all ran to the table where there would be Easter baskets with bright green plastic grass holding  treats which we were not allowed to eat until we came back from church.

The dressed-up family went to church as a unit.  For other families – the only time they did that was attending church  for Christmas.

After church, we would go home and seek out the hidden colored Easter eggs the Easter Bunny (our Mom & Dad)  left for us –  some of which we had ‘eyed’ before we left for church.   After they were all collected – Mom always knew exactly how many there would be.   For breakfast, we cut and ate  the Italian Easter Egg Pie – my favorite.

Traditional Easter treats were also consumed during the day: They were eaten at ‘dinner’ around 3:00 pm which included  artichokes, roasted lamb, a special sweet bread called “Colomba” (which means dove, and it’s made in the shape of a dove) and chocolate eggs, which almost always are hollow and have a special prize inside.   Of course, there was also the ‘prima piastra’  or ‘first plate’ which was a pasta of some sort – lasagna or ravioli.   Red wine was offered to all – even sips to the youngest.   That may seem strange, but when teen classmates made a big deal about getting wine or beer to drink. we weren’t interested – we had sampled it at home.  None of us became ‘drinkers’.

Easter became a favorite holiday along with Christmas.   Christmas was a vehicle for getting presents from Santa Claus and when we were older-  we focused on the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

Easter was getting new clothes and Easter baskets from the Easter Bunny;  when we were older,  it was a vehicle for the love and gift of Christ’s gift  of Himself to us for our sake.

Marie Coppola April 13, 2019