Finding The Golden Egg

In 1969, the “golden egg” was born. It was the year that the L’eggs pantyhose company introduced its product to retailers. Their pantyhose and knee highs were packaged in oversized white, plastic eggs. It was a clever advertising campaign that surely feathered some monetary nests at the L’eggs company.

However, the L’eggs eggs eventually caught the wrath of environmentalists who believed the plastic containers to be unnecessarily wasteful items clogging our landfills. We just thought they were kind of neat.

The L’eggs eggs came in handy at Easter time when Mom filled dozens of plastic eggs for an Easter egg hunt in the backyard. I can’t remember for sure if she decorated that one large L’eggs egg, but it was dubbed the “golden egg” because it was filled with lots of stuff including a $5 bill.

Five dollars went a long way in those days for kids whose allowance was doled out in quarters. It meant comic books and baseball cards with bubble gum that actually tasted liked bubble gum.

A $5 bill bought you instant friends on the block. It earned you promises from siblings to “help you carry” the money to Jake’s Toy Store on “the Lane” where you could purchase a kite, yo-yo and a big bag of penny candy.

Or that $5 could lead you to Wilson’s Drugstore where candy bars were neatly stacked in the glass counter case. My favorite was the Milkshake bar with the Milky Way coming in a close second. One of my siblings liked the Mallo Cups and would put them in the freezer so she could crack them into pieces. I followed her lead and enjoyed frozen Milkshake bars. Freezing them seemed to make the candy last longer.

Easter egg hunts were a big deal around these parts when we were kids and I guess they still are. The biggest hunt was held at Wheeling Park where thousands of chocolate covered eggs in their colorful wrappers were strewn about the park.

There was even one time the eggs mixed with snowflakes but who cares when free candy is at stake. I can still picture my littlest sister toddling around in her pink dress, tights and bonnet and carrying a basket almost as big as she was.

There aren’t many bonnet wearers these days. Neither men nor women bother much with such finery, even on Easter Sunday. I believe hat wearing for women saw its demise when the Catholic Church told women they no longer needed to cover their heads in church.

While I don’t miss the school beanie or lace chapel veil, I do like hats. I’m just not brave enough to start the trend again.

The Easter egg hunt tradition will be resurrected at my Mom’s house this weekend but this year’s hunt will involve great-grandchildren. There will be a race to see who can collect the most eggs without knocking each other to the ground.

If history repeats itself, I’m pretty sure there will be a golden egg hidden in the yard. I’m just not sure – with inflation and all – how much money will be tucked inside.

Happy Easter.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.