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Decades later, Easter egg tree still delights

Staff writer

For many decades, an Easter tree has blossomed at the corner of Locust and Denver Sts. in Marion.

Debbi Darrow, who now owns the home and decorates the tree, keeps alive a tradition begun by Julia Mullen, the previous owner of the house at 225 Locust St.

Her tree used to “bloom” with decorated Easter eggs overnight.

Neighborhood children came Easter morning to hunt Easter eggs on her lawn, have their photos taken next to the tree, and enjoy cookies decorated like Easter eggs. Families would bring the children to the house after church to see the tree.

“It was important to me as a child,” Darrow said. “Bill and I wanted it to be a tradition that would continue to be special for our three young children and later, our grandchildren”

Darrow even has a photo of herself next to the tree when she was 2 years old.

“All the neighborhood kids did that,” she said.

Bill and Debbi Darrow have owned the house for 42 years, and have decorated the tree for Easter each year.

“Julie did it a long time before that,” Darrow said. “I wasn’t lucky enough to live in this particular neighborhood.”

Nevertheless, going to see Mullen’s Easter tree was an annual tradition for Darrow’s family.

“She was a really good friend of my grandmother’s is how I knew her,” she said.

Darrow said Mullen lived in the house until she was 90, when she moved into an assisted living facility in Wichita, where she was close to two of her children.

“She lived until three days shy of her 103rd birthday,” Darrow said. “She was an amazing lady.”

Some years the Easter tree is in front of the house and other years, at the side on Denver St.

“When Julia did pass away and her family brought her back here, they delivered two baskets of the original eggs to us,” Darrow said.

“I really am careful with hers, especially,” Darrow said.

Mullen used blown egg shells colored with Ritz fabric dye.

“She would string them, four to six on a string, and hang them in a little circle,” Darrow said. “I do the same thing but I use sprayed eggs.”

The tree Darrow uses now is a crabapple.

“If I’m lucky, most years it has leafed out and some years it has blossomed, so I really don’t need anything else,” she said.

Although Darrow still hangs Mullen’s Easter eggs on the tree, their delicacy is the reason the eggs hang for only one day.

“Julie used even kind of unusual colors. I use mainly pastels,” Darrow said. “She had one string of eggs that she covered with glitter.”

The tree is still an Easter favorite.

“Kids still come around, and families come around to take pictures,” she said.

It’s the memories that make her want to keep the tradition alive.

“Julia was an amazing lady and this is just a way to honor all she was and all she did,” Darrow said. “We thought it was a tradition worth continuing.”

Last modified April 1, 2021

 

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