18 Mar 2001
Almost every Easter, my family would pack up enough clothes, food and entertainment to make the 12 hour drive and week or so-long stay to Coon Rapids, Iowa to visit family. I can remember, when I was older, my parents worrying about weather and driving conditions, but I never remember a year we started out and didn’t get there for the celebration. For us, it was a great time to visit with cousins we barely knew because we lived so far away, but it was also a great time to spend eating delicious food that Grandma Schoeppner cooked and discover what new creations Grandpa had in his stained-glass shop.
Most of the time was spent just relaxing with family, hearing stories of crazy escapades of my mom and her siblings as they were growing up, and news of where the kids they grew up with were now. But one of the most fun organized events of the visit was the Easter egg hunt.
I’m not sure where grandma found the time between all the cooking and visiting, but she managed to hide what must have been hundreds of eggs for us grandkids to find. And it wasn’t just a hunt to see who could find the most eggs, there were prizes! When you found an egg, it could be empty, but more often than not there were a few coins inside or a number that meant you won a prize. Each number matched a prize and when the hunt was all over, grandma had set up a prize-claim window where we each had to wait patiently in line to see what we had won. Somehow the girls always seemed to get girlish prizes and the boys got boyish prizes; years later I figured out that the numbers had nothing to do with the prizes, grandma had just gone out and bought inexpensive prizes for each one of us based on age and sex.
I don’t remember anything I won, though I’m sure I was thrilled at the time and it has provided me with a great memory of a truly organized activity at Grandma and Grandpa Schoeppners.