It's that time of year again, when you cannot go into a drugstore or supermarket without seeing them. Shelf after shelf of chocolate bunnies, on display in festive, colorful packaging. The first time I saw them again, the spring after my mother died, I had a panic attack. Not over the chocolate bunnies. Over the packaging. My mother designed most of it. She was gone, and there I was in CVS, standing in front of an entire wall of her boxes.
My mother had grown up wanting to be an artist, like her father. She went to art school and years later, she was making somewhat of a living as a graphic designer, and had said to me on several occasions that she was reduced to "drawing bunny boxes" for a living. She told me she had lost the artistic ability that she once had; she could only draw cartoon rabbits, hopping over flowers while looking insanely happy. She was not particularly proud of her bunny boxes. Ironically, it's the bunny boxes that have given her a bit of immortality, even though graphic designers never get to sign their work. I'm not sure anyone ever looks at "Busy Bigby" and "Sunny" at Walgreen's and thinks about who created the artwork that adorns the box. But I do.
I no longer feel sad at the annual return of the bunny boxes, but I do feel nauseous. Why? Because the chocolate is pretty awful. Do you remember the wax tubes that held juice (aka dyed sugar water)? You could bite off the end, drink the juice and then chew the wax, thereby ingesting at least 37 different carcinogens. Those wax tubes o'juice tasted better than this chocolate. One of the perks of having a mother who designed candy packaging was that every now and then, she would bring home FREE SAMPLES! I will never forget the case of Rolos, circa 1972. And the Hershey Bars...every time they unveiled a new seasonal version of Miniatures, we reaped the benefits. But she knew not to bring home the bunnies. The bunnies were awful. And thank God she never worked on the packaging for Peeps.
Beryl's bunny boxes (the two on the left):