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Thanksgiving Back Then

By Marilyn (LaraOct7@aol.com)


The house you see in the picture belonged to Nathaniel Lord, and was built in 1799. I discovered it when I was out walking in Kennybunkport, Maine. I liked the candles in the windows and the pumpkins on the doorstep.

This past week, some of us posted our Thanksgiving day musings on the message board and if you'd like to read them, you'll find a link to our board on the Index page.

I wonder what Thanksgiving day was like for the Nathaniel Lord family back in 1799. What was it like for you when you were growing up? Did you travel over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house?

Fiction or fact, we look forward to your entry.








 


Thanksgiving Back Then

By Mary (MusingByMary@aol.com)


Waaaaaaay BACK THEN
I still recall;
some of tha grandest
Thanksgivings of all!


For it was to grandmother's
house we'd go;
through the woods, e'en
if there was snow:-)


There she's be with
her outstretched arms;
to welcome all where
there'd be no harms.


The table all set
with china, crystal 'n such;
Grandmother believed in tha'
best for her family, so much!


Tha' kitchen would always
be busy ~ afuss;
with those yummy goodies
cookin' ~ how she loved us!


Waaaaaaaaaaay BACK THEN
if memory serves me well;
the fragrances wafted
to our nostrils, how swell!


There'd be the blessing
with each bowed head;
'N sometimes my grandpa,
some scriptures, read.


Uncles, 'n aunts, cousins
the whole clan;
would feast on tha goodies
ta beat tha band:-)


SO much ta be thankful for
where do I begin;
there's so many blessings
NOW 'n WAAAAAAAAAY BACK THEN!



Mary Carter Mizrany©
November 19, 2007









 


Thanksgiving Back Then

By Tom (tomWYO@aol.com)


A new century it was, 1800 had come,
And oh the pride we had,
As a new house we had built,
One that stood alone.


Twas a cold day indeed,
As we did into it move,
Twenty seven people toting loads,
As we were now living in town.


Thanksgiving time, oh yes indeed,
Seems those old Pilgrims had really started it.
But with punkins and bright colored foliage
The house they did decorate.


Four big turkeys old Mose did shoot,
Two hogs and a dry cow we did cook.
Invited all in the town,
Hoping my new clients would sound abound.


The war was over; the new country was a trying,
We were tired but not feeling hunger,
So we did the season observe,
Now I am in debt, up to my ears.


©tomWYO, 111907









 


To Grandma's

By Joy (JOY3032@aol.com)


Over the roads and through the hills
To Grandmother's house we went
Pies carefully packed and cookies in tins
Thinking of time that we'd spend


With cousins and aunts and uncles
Who we hadn't seen in awhile
We thought of the fun we would surely have
And out came a great big smile


Grandma lived over the border in Canada
What an exotic trip it seemed back then
Stopping to declare our bounty
And hoping the trip would soon end


When we arrived in Stratford
There was a crowd on Grandma's lawn
Why it was Frank and Don and Aunt Kitty
And Kay and Grace and Dawn


More of the family were still in the parlor
'Round the upright piano they sang
All the music that was so familiar
Four part harmony from the gang


The dinner is fixed at my house now
The family has traveled many miles
To get together with gram and grandpa
An occasion for lots more smiles.



Joy3032









 


Thanksgiving Back Then

By Amy (Fabulousfilly@aol.com)


OH THANKSGIVING THAT GLORIOUS DAY!
THE BUSIEST TRAVELING DAY SOME SAY.
AIRPLANES AND TRAINS ARE PACKED REAL TIGHT
SOME EVEN GET STRANDED OVER NIGHT.
WOMEN ARE BAKING FABULOUS TREATS
ANTICIPATING THAT GLORIOUS FEAST.
SOME MEN ARE ENJOYING A DAY FULL OF FUN,
GAMES ON T.V. AND KIDS ON THE RUN.
THE GATHERING OF FRIENDS AND FAMILIES REAL CLOSE
THE DECORATIVE TABLE, RED WINE FOR A TOAST.
THE AROMAS FILL EACH HOUSE ON THE BLOCK
MOTHERSARE KEEPING AN EYE ON THE CLOCK.
THE TABLE IS SET, THE TURKEY IS DONE.
SHE CALLS OUT, "IT'S TIME TO CARVE IT HON"!
AS WE ALL GATHER THIS THANKSGIVING DAY
TAKE ONE SMALL MOMENT TO SIT AND PRAY
BE THANKFUL, BE GRACIOUS, BE LIGHT AND GAY.
THAT IS ALL I HAVE TO SAY.. ©









 


Thanksgiving Back Then

By Swampetta (SWAMPETTA@aol.com)


We had a large family, but most of the time half of them wasn't speaking to the other half. My Granma Ryan wasn't putting up with that nonsense! She invited you for thanksgiving you had better show up!

There were only three of us kids, my two older boy cousins, Leo and Terry and me. Granma didn't have a kids table...you sat at the big table and minded your manners. She had a wooden spoon that was used to teach proper deportment. If you were sitting when you did something out of the rules, you got a smack on the head with it. If you were standing up...you didn't sit comfortably for a while.

Grampa Ryan sat at the head of the table and all he had to do was point. Man had three daughters and a wife present to take his order. He did the carving and although there are only two legs on a turkey and three kids all wanting one,,,,he decided who got which one. Up til about age 8, I got one because I was a girl and the youngest.

I never did finish it and that would drive my cousins NUTS!

After the main course was eaten the men would be sent to the 'Parlor' to discuss important stuff like baseball, football, politics and fishing. My uncle Leo would be on his 5th beer by then and knew the answers to everything. Grampa would still be working on his first and would just ignore him. My dad and uncle John didn't drink so they sort of just agreed with whatever Grampa said. Most of the time my uncle John would take his nephews out for a walk. It was a VERY small parlor! I would sit under the dining room table and listen to the conversations that the women made.

It took me YEARS to figure out exactly what certain phrases meant; "She's no better than she should be."

"Stole a walk on the preacher." "Embarrassing Condition", "Grass Widow"....There were sometimes they forgot that I was under the table and I got history lessons on my great-great Parents and the somewhat eccentric things they did. One of the Great-great Kilbride women had a habit of only hanging her wash out when it was dark. That was for the everyday stuff. In the daylight she hung out the best of the best. Linens that had never been used, so white they glowed in the dark. Corsets that she had never worn with fancy embroidery, nightshirts that only saw the light of day when she hung them on the line. She must've been the one that started the family motto...."What will the neighbors think?"

Granma didn't have a 'real' toilet. She had an outhouse attached to the house right next to the back door. There was no light in it but Grampa did have a small kerosene lamp he'd put in there when company came. I would never go in there alone! I had seen a spider once and I KNEW it was waiting to bite me on the butt! My mom would have to go in with me and hold me up over the hole. I would rather wet my pants than sit on the seat!

By the time the kitchen was ready for the men to come in for coffee and dessert, I was half asleep in my jello. You knew when Grampa had his second beer,,,,he would go and fall asleep on the coats that were on his bed. "Two Beer Willie" he was. Never really rowdy or nasty, he had two speeds,,,ON and OFF.

My kids remember some family dinners at my Aunt Peg's house. She had no children so ours made her nervous. And with very good reasons!








 


Thanksgiving Back Then

By Phyllis Ann (Starbird55@sbcglobal.net)


We walked to school to sing "We Gather To Gather" and learn about Pilgrims and Native Americans sharing a feast and corn.


We made family table place cards and turkeys out of construction paper and glue and talked about when Thanksgiving was born.



The weather was cold, and our breath frosted the window pane as we looked out on the porch for company to share turkey, dressing, and all the Thanksgiving feast.


The women had been cooking for days to make this day special, and you could smell the rolls rising with their wonderful yeast.



The table was set with the best table cloth, napkins, silver and china with a centerpiece made at school.


It was all about family, tradition and the golden rule.



One year I got sick eating too much turkey and other goodies made by the family cooks.
I spent a day in bed, so Momma gave me an early Christmas gift of a pop-up book.









 


Thanksgiving Back Then

By Jeanie (Mingo184@aol.com)


I'M SITTING HERE THINKING OF ALL THE MEMORIES PUT TO A POEM AND I CAN'T GET ANYTHING TO RHYME. SO, TO REMEMBER WAY BACK THEN, I WILL TELL IT IN STORY FORM.


I REMEMBER LOOKING OUT THE FRONT BEDROOM WINDOW, ON A COLD NOVEMBER NIGHT, AND WATCHING FOR MY DAD TO COME HOME FROM WORK. SNOW HAD ALREADY COVERED THE GROUND, FOR IT ALWAYS SNOWED IN CONNECTICUT BEFORE THANKSGIVING. AND SNOW WAS STILL ON THE GROUND INTO FEBRUARY. A SNOW LADEN LAND ON THANKSGIVING WAS THE NORM. MOM DID ALL THE FIXINGS. DID I HELP? NO, LAZY ME JUST WATCHED.

ONE OF THE BEST THINGS ABOUT THE TURKEY WAS MOM'S STUFFING. SHE MADE A SIMPLE SAUSAGE STUFFING THAT I WISH NOW THAT I HAD LEARNED THE RECIPE. SHE NEVER WROTE ANYTHING DOWN, JUST USED HER HANDS AND HER MIND. TO THIS DAY, NO ONE HAS MADE A STUFFING LIKE MY MOM'S.

OF COURSE, WE HAD THE PUMPKIN PIE, WHICH WAS STORE BOUGHT THEN. LATER, I MADE THE PUMPKIN PIE WHEN THE RECIPE APPEARED ON THE CAN OF PUMPKIN. MOM USUALLY MADE AN APPLE PIE FOR THANKSGIVING, TOO. ALL THE TRADITIONAL FIXINGS WERE THERE. AFTERWARD, I HELPED CLEAN UP WHILE MY DAD AND BROTHERS SETTLED DOWN IN FRONT OF THE DUMONT TV TO WATCH A FOOTBALL GAME.

I CAN CLOSE MY EYES NOW AND SEE OUR FAMILY AROUND THE KITCHEN TABLE HAVING THAT FEAST. I ATE THE SKIN OFF THE TURKEY THEN...WHO KNEW? LOL! IT'S NICE TO REMEMBER HOW SIMPLE THINGS WERE.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE AND GOD BLESS.









 


Thanksgiving Back Then

By Doris (Toto38@aol.com)


We were a family of 10. Eight brothers and sisters, mom and dad. We lived in a 6 room cold water apartment in Brooklyn, heated by a coal stove and one kerosene heater; and we were a happy group!

Thanksgiving was one of our best holidays. Mom cooked all week on the coal stove, some of the food was kept in a tin box attached to the outside of the kitchen window (if the weather was cold), and the rest in an "ice box" in the kitchen. On the big day we would set up two tables that were put in the living/dining room through to the kitchen. The scent of turkey permeated our apartment, mingling in the hallways with those of our neighbors. Mashed, and sweet potatoes, string beans, corn, stuffing, rolls and apple cider accompanied our perfectly cooked "Tom Turkey", and we ate till we were ready to burst! Yet we always had room for mom's homemade pies; apple, mince meat and lemon merangue. Yummy!

With five daughters on hand mom had ten hands to help with the cleaning up ... and we had fun with that, too. Thanksgiving, (which we jokingly called Thanksgiblets *,*) is still my favorite family holiday. With 4 children and 8 grandchildren, and though our meal is usually at one of our children's homes, we still eat to bursting, enjoy homemade pies and have lots of laughter and fun! Happy Thanksgiving to ALL!








 


What I Remember

By Connie (CSThomas@aol.com)


Extremely poor at birth
Until the age fifteen
Thanksgiving was lost,
We were a family of no means


No shoes did I own
Barefooted I did go
Mother's dresses cut down
When I'd learned to sew


Poverty wasn't an issue
Not knowing we were poor
Love was abundant
Of this, I'm real sure


The holiday I remember
As Christmas became near
A tree cut from the woods
Brought us all good cheer


Never knowing such riches
Others flaunted with pride
Being poor was something
We never tried to hide


Wealth is only a vision
To have more than the rest
I never wished for more
I never felt depressed









 


Thanksgiving Day, 1984

By susi (Texaswishr@aol.com)


The last Thanksgiving my family was all together. It was the typical turkey dinner which was furnished by my niece, Jeannie in her beautiful old home in Montrose, Michigan. Of course, everyone there brought a dish to pass which meant for the proverbial "groaning board." I know that some of the best cooks in the world were in my family. Ahhh, how I remember all the laughter, the singing, the conversations that were so different in every part of the house and the touching grace that was said by my dad or my mom before we enjoyed that food. There was someone talking in every room and even in the basement. That is where the young folks and most of the men gathered to sit and watch football on tv, or gather 'round the game table to play cards or board games. The house was full of grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, talking, teasing, giggling, heads thrown back in laughter.

Jeannie's house was full of the loveliest antiques and surprisingly enough, to my knowledge, nothing ever got broken even with all the kids running rampant thru every room in the house. There was always many pictures taken to ensure that we remembered each of these great Thanksgiving holidays. Everyone reminisced about other days we had spent together, and looked forward to the family Christmas party in just a month from then. How were we to know that day would be the last Thanksgiving Day that we would all be together? Would we have done anything different? Brought more food? Taken more pictures? Laughed more, and maybe more loudly? No, we just looked forward to the next family gathering.

Over the next few years there were less people there, quieter conversations, kids growing up and not running all over the house. And as the years went by, everyone just seemed to ease away from the big gatherings on the holidays until there were no more. But, Thanksgiving is still my most favorite holiday of them all. The family has their own celebrations in their own way. But, I know that they all think about the old days and remember the wonderful Thanksgivings we used to have when we were all together.








 


Thanksgiving Back Then

By Sharon (Sunyskys1943@aol.com)


Growing up and much of my adult years, Thanksgiving was spent in Laguna Mountains in San Diego county at my parents cabin. It had one bedroom.

There was one main room that held the table, chairs to sit on and a kitchen.

There was one small bathroom with a sink and an unheated shower. Gads that shower was cold. At least it did after Pop remodeled the cabin. For many years it had an outhouse with no inside bathroom. You know, one of those thin buildings with two holes for seating, a half moon in the door, and on the door was hung a Sears catalogue for reading.

About 30 to 40 relatives would show up. My parents cooked the turkey in the wood stove and the ham in an old electric roaster. Mom made white gravy on top of the stove. Mom always had sticky buns that she had made. Aunts brought salads, and pies. An uncle made homemade ice cream in an old crank type ice cream maker.

One year it started snowing. Many of the relatives headed home early so they wouldn't get stuck in the snow. Some stayed over in that crowded cabin, sleeping on the floor. That was before the inside bathroom. My sister went down the path to the outhouse after dark. She started to open the outhouse door, but something thumped on it. She forgot about the Sears catalog hanging on the door. She came running back up the path, yelling that their was a wild animal inside. When it was discovered that there was just that old catalogue, we all laughed.

Another time, I remember an uncle took his flashlight to the outhouse and dropped it accidently into the hole. He was upset about it. It was his best flashlight.

And now you know, why I have always known about Thunder jugs. There was one in the cabin that we used late at night, before Pop put in, inside plumbling.








 


Thanksgiving

By Joy (JOY3032@aol.com)


The time of life I've entered
Makes me appreciate each day
I get up in the morning
Thankful in every way


For the things I used to take
For granted years ago
Such little things like waking
And remembering where to go


Can't remember where I put them
The glasses I must wear
To find the contacts I took off
"Oh dear, they're here somewhere"


I walk around the scale
That sits on the bathroom floor
My stretchy clothes still fit me
Who could ask for anything more


I powder and paint and primp
Rouge my cheeks and fix my hair
I look into the mirror quickly
I never dare to stare


Although things aren't the same
As they were some years ago
I'm thankful for what I do have
Health and fun places that I can go









 


Thanksgiving Way Back When

By Carole McCarty (larrycarolee@aol.com)


My Momma and Daddy and my three sisters and one bratty brother would all pile in the car and drive about 25 miles to my grandmaw and grandpaws house. My Momma would hush numerous arguments and outbursts in the backseat as the four of us would be picking at each other. Of course, my brother, being the only boy among four girls started all the upsets. My baby sister sat on my Mom's lap in the front seat as Daddy drove and would sometimes speak in a quiet, threatening tone of voice letting us know that "he better not have to pull off to the side of this road"!

Once we arrived at our grandparents home we would pile out of the car and scramble up the huge flight of porch stairs and then climb the porch railing and jump over the side. The whole time Mom was yelling at us to "stop that right this minute...you're going to break your neck"! She would be carrying the baby and Dad would carry in the 'smell good' stuff from the trunk of the car.

The house would be filled with people. So many aunts and uncles. They were my Mom's brothers and sisters. She was the oldest of six and many of them still lived at home in this house. In fact, one of my uncles was the same age as my third youngest sister. It was warm and cozy and smelled so good and everyone was happy to see each other.

It was hard for us kids to sit still and seemed like we were always in trouble. Taking the bathroom key and hiding it, swinging the doorbell chimes that hung on the hall wall and stealing grandpaws Sen-Sen that he had on his bureau. Of course he could smell it as we sucked it. He would always be in this one chair that we knew was his. Today there is still a chair in that same place.

The dining room table was open to its fullest and always covered with a white lace table cloth that hung nearly to the floor. This provided a perfect hiding place for us kids. We loved to crawl under the table after snitching a tidbit from the top of the table.

Grandpaw always asked the blessing from God and we knew to be very quiet when this was being said. We had great respect for our grandparents. We knew they loved Jesus. Everyone knew.

One of the strangest things I remember is my youngest aunt would sit on the floor by the front door with her plate of food on her lap and drink water out of a mason jar. Why that sticks in my memory I'll never know.

I don't know just when these gatherings ended and began at my sister Jeannies house. Maybe because my grandparents home was just too small to accommodate our multiplying family. However, the dinners there have their own special memories too.








 


Country Thanksgiving

By Barbara (Brierhillbarbara@aol.com)


I was in my late teens when i moved in with Mom and my step dad. We were to have Thanksgiving dinner with mom's sister and her six children. A real old fashioned country dinner. Family I hadn't seen in years and some I had never seen at all. My aunt's are all good cooks, especially the canned food from the garden, and hand-frozen from their garden things.

The table was huge and it was warm in Maryland that day. The house, a big farm house, was full of aromas, the kind that come from loving hands with loving memories behind them.

My aunt'' kids were bare foot and in walking shorts, running in and out and carrying things she needed. Laughter and shouts of glee filled the day, as I held back a bit. They were almost strangers to me. I lived with my Dad and his parents after the divorce. She made plum pudding, o labor intensive and the kitchen over flowed with food. I don't remember saying thanks for the memory to her and my cousins, I should have for sure. The food was so good, but it is the people i recall and the warmth of the family.

Funny now as I write this, I smell the spices from aunt Fran's kitchen stove. She never knew how I treasured that day. Had never been to a gathering so wonderful and full or obvious love. My aunt loved those kids, no doubt about that. Some day I will give her a copy of this little piece I write from my heart and my memory, and from that warm fuzzy special place deep inside. I wish you all a holiday that is as unforgetable as this one was...........
















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