Easter at The Rutenbars, Old Bridge, New Jersey, 1958

Kristen posted a photo of her mother’s family on our Retro Renovation Facebook fan page, and I got all excited and asked her to find out more. Her mom was all ears, shared the story — and more photos — and even asked that I include the family’s name and home town in hopes of connecting with old friends and neighbors. So here is Kristen’s report on what her mom Judy had to say about The Rutenbars, Old Bridge, NJ, Easter, 1958:
This photograph shows, from left to right, my mom Judy, her brother Jimmy, my grandmother Marjorie and my aunt Linda. For this Easter, my grandmother pulled out all the stops. Shrimp cocktail for the parents, fruit cups for the kids, even pickles, which my grandmother hated and only bought on special occasions. The bunny cake featured as the center piece is a family tradition and will be featured on our dining room table this Easter too. The outfits my mom and her siblings are wearing were made by my grandmother; even the cowboy shirt. My mom still has the cat eye glasses that my grandmother is wearing in the photo. Read on…After my grandmother passed away in 2002, I found a shoe box of old negatives dating all the way back to the 1920’s when my grandmother was young. I took the box intending to some day get the pictures reprinted and archive them but never did. Luckily, my mom picked up my slack and had all of the old negatives scanned and put on a CD. Now we have all our old family photos in digital format.

I have so many more pictures that I’m sure you would love. I’ve been meaning to send you pictures of my house which is filled with relics from my great grandparents farm house in Michigan. I even have their first electric washing machine, the miniature that the door to door salesmen used to tempt them, and the original pamphlet advertising it’s highlights, of which my favorite is “Never oil your washing machine again!”

I have inherited this genetic trait of saving everything, hopefully someday my grand children will appreciate it! I also inherited my grandmothers ability to sew. I will send you a picture of the aprons that I make, I think you’ll like them.
Also my mom asked that you include their name and Old Bridge NJ, she’s interested to see if anyone who reads your blog grew up there in the 50’s. Looking forward to tomorrow’s post!
Thank you, Kristen. And I LOVE your apron! Do you sell them? If so — let me know where, and I’ll post it for sure. Meanwhile, there is NOTHING better than family photographs like the ones you have shared, except for: The stories that go with them. 🙂 Thank your Mom, as well!
Happy Easter… happy spring… all.

  1. Michele says:

    We ave those same drinking glasses today! I love them! I think I’m up to 11. Every time I find them I pick them up!
    Great pic!

  2. AnnF says:

    On Antiques Roadshow they say those salesmen’s models are worth a lot of money.

    My aunt saved my grandmother’s glasses, but they crumbled with age. I was surprised. There was no saving them.

    If anyone knows of a really good machine for scanning, let us know. I have a gozillion old photos myself, and many of them are fading, but I wanted to get a better scanner than my all in one printer. ( For $500 or hopefully less).

  3. Gerry Davis says:

    For anyone looking for the Bunny Cake Recipe, please google Betty Crocker Bunny Cakes; the picture and directions are exactly what I have in my recipe notebook. Someone asked for the recipe, but here it is for everyone who wants it. Any problem, please notify me

  4. Carolyn says:

    Because my sisters were 8 & 10 yrs older than me, they were really in to the Betty Crocker Boys & Girls cookbook so we had many recipes out of that book. I think our bunny cake was a little different. Plus one sister took cake decorating in 4H so we not only got really fancy cakes (Bible, cross, lamb) but hollowed-out sugar eggs with little dioramas inside.
    Thinking about Easter, that must have really been a sight in the 1950’s & ’60’s to see everyone spiffed up eggstra (!) special for Easter services. My little sister and I had white bowler hats with ribbons and plastic purses to carry our nickel in a hankie for the plate.

  5. Robert perez says:

    Yea,at one of our power lunches I brought everyone at the table ladybug cakes and shamrock cookies that I procured at a mid-town bakery called”The BLVD”,in kcmo I didn’t realize they’re we’re on everyone’s at our table 50s,want list a good find thanks Pam’s Kitchen!They were to die 4!

  6. Matilda says:

    Happy Easter from Australia! I have memories of an Easter bunny cake served at our family get together but it was meringue – set in a mould. Gerry, you mentioned you still have a recipe for the cake version that I would love a copy of please! I love the pink tissue paper ears – just beautiful

    1. Gerry Davis says:

      More than happy to share, but we are in the process of moving, so will try to work it in my schedule. It’s so easy.

  7. Ce says:

    Oh my goodness–that is my refrigerator that never died. But it did develop a crack in the door wiring that made it unsafe to use. We had to replace it about 10 years ago.

  8. sherree says:

    These photos take me back! My mother also made that cake every Easter. It was my job to color the paper ears and place the jelly beans in the green coconut grass. I have since made it for my children and now my granddaughter.

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