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Here we see Little Jeanne in her Easter finery with her cousin Stacy in his Easter finery on their way to Grandmother Ballard’s kitchen where we would line up with the other twelve grandchildren and be divided into Hiders and Hunters. We were placed into one of these two groups by Grandmother at her sole discretion. Nobody knew her criteria – shoot, I think she just lined us up and decided on the spot, not bothering with any rules or reasons.

At first, the Hiders hid eggs in places nobody – not even the cousin who grew up to be a detective – would ever think to look. By the time they got to the last few hundred eggs, though, they were running out of steam, so they dropped eggs beside the post that held Grandmother’s clothesline, stuck them in tire wells, and tucked them in the knot holes in the rough seasoned-gray boards of the smokehouse. Even without an admonition, everybody – Hiders and Hunters alike – was respectful of Grandmother’s prized flowers, never putting the colorful blooms in jeopardy by hiding eggs too close or trampling flowers in the frenzied hunting zeal.

We didn’t have prize eggs – it was all about quantity. She who found the most eggs, won The Prize. The non-existent, self-proclaimed Prize. Grandmother could not abide nicknames, and she had nothing for fancy Easter eggs, either. There would be no golden eggs, no silver eggs, no chocolate eggs hidden by or for her grandchildren. We were not that kind of family. No siree. We dyed our eggs, thank you very much, pressing every cup in the house into service, sometimes using white crayons to write secret messages on the shell that became visible when we dropped the egg in the colorful dye solution. Oh yes, we were your basic garden variety all-natural Easter egg decorators, and we wore the vinegar smell to prove it.

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Here’s a post-hunt snap of Jeanne and Stacy, and as anybody can see, Stacy is blatantly coveting my bounty. I can’t blame him. Not only did I have a bigger basket, I needed it.

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In the years since this photo was snapped, folks have looked at it and let things like “My, my, my. You sure are a bossy little thing.” or “What a bossy little girl you were.” fall out of their mouths. “I’m not bossy,” I tell them, “I just know what y’all ought to be doing.” (Plus I’m pretty sure there were more eggs to be found when this photo was taken, so I kinda’ resented the interruption and needed to get back at out in the hunt. I mean, really, what would Stacy do without me?)

I think you can see why The Engineer and I immediately thought of the so-called bossy photo of me yesterday when I happened upon this photo in the antique store:


It makes me quite sad to come across boxes of old family photos in antique stores, and I can’t tell you how hard it is for me to leave them behind when I exit. Yesterday, though, the lightbulb went off and at last I conjured the justification that cleared the way for me to adopt two photos. What is it, you ask? One word: collecting. You are now reading the words of a proud collector of Bossy Girl photos. I started on the spot yesterday and have two in my collection so far.

Three if you count the one of me.


The Engineer prefers the term “confident” over “bossy”, but I think we’re talking in synonyms.


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