Sunday, March 31, 2013

Charlie Chaplin, Jr. describes an Easter from his childhood

Up until this year, Syd and I had not participated in the coloring of the eggs. But that Easter Eve we were allowed to help Paulette, all three of us working away in the living room. Dad reserved himself the hiding of the eggs, a chore he loved because of its conspiratorial nature. I have never ceased to be amazed at the simplicity of the things in which my father found so much pleasure. I can remember him with that sly expression on his face, packing us off to bed so he would have freedom to work. He hid the eggs in the chairs and the sofa of the living room, in the dining room, out on the lawn.

Easter morning we had a late breakfast together on the porch, and the relaxed atmosphere was like a burst of sunshine after Dad’s tension of the last months. A little later Syd’s and my friends gathered for the hunt. Soon there were children all over the place, squealing and yelling and tearing everything apart in their exuberant search. And there was Dad following right behind us with his hands clasped behind his back, as though to keep from rooting out the eggs himself.

“Now you’re hot! Now you’re cold! Lukewarm now!” his steady monologue guided us like manikins on a string until we found them all. (My Father, Charlie Chaplin, 1960)

3 comments:

  1. Question. I've read Charlie Jr.'s book, along with other Chaplin books - they all mention that Chaplin went to Pebble beach from about Feb to June 1938. I've always wondered how this Easter could have happened. Was Easter in early February that year? Was Charlie Jr. confusing it with another year? The same book says Paulette took the boys and went to Pebble Beach in June of 1938 to reunite with Charlie Sr, and she stayed a month with him until the end of July, and the boys had to go back to LA in late June (train story in My Life with Chaplin after the boys broke the windows in the "haunted" house" in PB).

    So can someone shed some light as to how the Chaplin's celebrated Easter together in 1938?

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    1. Ah, good point. 1938 was a date that I came up with because in the paragraph before the Easter part, Charlie Jr is describing Paulette's excitement about being asked to make a screen test for "Gone With The Wind." The next section, right before the part I quoted, begins: "That's how Easter came to the Chaplins." He probably had the years mixed up. I think Charlie, Jr. would have been too old to go Easter egg hunting in 1938, plus, as you said, Charlie was definitely at Pebble Beach during that time. It could have been the year before, or even earlier.

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  2. That's what I always concluded as well - Charlie Jr mixed up the years.

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