Posted by: x | November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Memories

When I was young, we lived near to most of our extended family, and this made holidays especially exciting.

We quite literally went “over the (Potomac) river, and through the woods” to our grandparents’ house, where there would usually be aunts and uncles and cousins gathered.

Dinner was an elaborate formal affair.

At Nana and Poppy’s house, there was special Thanksgiving china, with beautiful turkeys painted on it, and place cards at the table.

At Mema’s house, we ate her special corn pudding and glazed sweet potatoes, and huge green olives from the relish tray.

And no matter which house we ate at, there were the staples — turkey, stuffing cooked inside the turkey, fresh steamed green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie.

We never called the stuffing, “dressing,” and we had never heard of green bean casserole.

Since we were home schooled, life and school were always melded together. So in November, we learned the history of Thanksgiving. We drew turkeys by tracing our hands, made Pilgrim and Native American costumes, and models of their homes.

I would show you pictures of all these things, but they are somewhere in my Mom’s albums.

So you’ll just have to imagine as best you can 🙂

When we moved down south, some things changed, since we couldn’t see all the extended family each year.

As we got older, the costumes and hand-traced turkeys fell by the wayside.

When I married a southern boy, some more things changed. I discovered green bean casserole, and “dressing” which is really just stuffing that hasn’t been stuffed in the turkey.

But a lot of things have stayed the same.

We still use Nana’s Thanksgiving china. We still have place cards. We still make Mema’s corn pudding and glazed sweet potatoes. And now that I have children of my own, we’ve started tracing our hands to make turkeys and making Native American headbands and necklaces.

I’m old-fashioned and love traditions (maybe it’s because I’m a first-born?) and so I love holidays because we get to pull out all the old-fashioned traditions. We remember all the good times of the past, and make more good times to remember in the future.

Thanks for bearing with my nostalgia.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving memories or traditions?

I promise there will be lots of pictures this weekend!




  1. I think we will need to dig out some of those pictures! Remember when we made homemade applesauce and those models of Native American longhouses (is that what they were called? the name totally left me just now).

    I don’t have as good of a memory as you, so I like it when you get nostalgic.

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