Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wistful Wednesday: Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpas

Growing up I cannot remember having a Thanksgiving Dinner anyplace else but my maternal Grandparents.  There was no choice…no invitations ever went out it was just expected that you would be there.  It was the same with Christmas Dinner. 

I don’t have any memories of a holiday dinner in my own home.  Confirmation dinners or Baptism dinners and maybe an Easter dinner or two but not Thanksgiving or Christmas.

No one could make stuffing (or dressing if you choose to call it that) like my grandmother, it had giblets and apples and raisins.  It was my favorite…that and some dark turkey meat and a mound of mashed potatoes along with some dill pickles!  If you helped to set the serving table you could snitch some pickles…taste testing of course. 

The serving table was the large yellow metal table with about three leaves in the heart of the kitchen. 

Grandma had a large farm kitchen. As you came in the doorway the huge fridge sat alone.  There was a spot for someone to sit in between the fridge and the massive red countertop that held the sink.  The table sat in front of the plants…off to the right of the plants was a huge pantry off to the left was a storage area and a private bathroom. On the other wall was the stove, I remember when it was just a stove…it eventually became a stove, countertop and cupboards. Chairs would be lined up in the area behind the table along the plant tables on the wall covered with windows that faced south.  Grandma always had something blooming.   The Aunts would line up on those chairs and watch the goings on in the kitchen. Mostly they gossiped.

I was a dish washer.  It seemed like I washed dishes all afternoon long.  I was the oldest grandchild. This was before automatic dishwashers…not that my Grandparents would have had one anyways.  There would be about 40 people give or take a few babies.  That was a lot of dishes.  The men would set up card tables in the living room and the dining room right after dinner and play Whist.  The women just occupied the kitchen…they fed little ones and occasionally hauled someone off to Grandma and Grandpa’s bedroom to change someone’s diapers.

I always wanted to be home before dark, but there was the inevitable “supper” after the big dinner and pie and coffee.  I would put my coat on and sit in the living room right in front of the television to watch The Wizard of Oz.  Of course I never got to see it all. It was always interrupted by the ride home…25 - 30 minutes that is about how long it took to get home.  I remember sitting in the back seat peaking over the front seat wondering why we couldn’t go faster. 

Elsie, Connie , Hatwig (2)

Summer of 1952, I was almost 1 year old.  That is my Grandmother Elsie and her Mother In Law my Great Grandmother Hatwig. I was their first…the first Grandchild and the first Great Grandchild.

Today as I ready a few things for Thanksgiving, I wonder how my Grandmother did it.  She must have been exhausted.

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24 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading your memories; they are very similar to my own. Thanks for sharing the sweet picture too. Wishing you guys a blessed Thanksgiving! Love, M

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  2. What a great picture of the goings-on in that busy kitchen. And 40 people - it sounds fun and exhausting. I wonder how often a gathering like this happens today - probably not too often.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

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  3. It's fabulous that you have such vivid memories of all of that. Wonderfully warm. Have a super Thanksgiving (not sure exactly when it is!).

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  4. Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas were always at my Maternal Grandmother's house also. She had a wood buying stove in her basement that he would cook the turkey in. And grandchildren were always the dishwashers too. Boy, those days were so great and I miss them. Now with my parents both deceased and hubbies dad living so far away it is just the two of us (my only child and family live in the deep south). But we still make a turkey (breast) with all the trimmings. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

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  5. We didn't have such memories of family like you did, but we still managed as I grew up to accumulate a few. Never more than six or eight for the celebration, though, until I was grown and flew home for the holidays. Such memories! :-)

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  6. We lived too far from my grandparents, so the holiday dinners were always at home - up to 12 people around the table. Yep, I was the dishwasher, too!

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  7. I have a picture of my aunt holding me with a dress very similar to the one in your picture. Have a lovely holiday, and thanks for sharing!

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  8. Thanksgiving is here this year with as many of the relatives as can come. The most we will have will be 12 but but, probably we will have 9.

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  9. You 'paint' a great picture! It brings back many memories. I wonder if our grandchildren will remember us as being busy and efficient in the kitchen?!

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  10. Loved this post, so interesting reading your memories. Sweet picture too, Blessings Francine.

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  11. Yes, in "the old days" we didn't get invitations to holiday dinners. For us too, it was expected that we would go to my maternal grandmother's house. My father died when I was 9 and he was only 42 and we appreciated having family for holiday dinners. My favorite Thanksgiving dish was always the "stuffing". We didn't call it "dressing" in those days, My grandmother made stuffing with her homemade bread. So delicious.

    Shirley H.

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  12. We didn't celebrate Thanksgiving until we moved to Canada, and since we had no relatives here, I think Thanksgiving was just the four of us, until Larry and the kids came along. By that time my sister was in Ontario, but Larry's mother, brother and a bit later, his sister-in-law would be included as well. I have a picture similar to yours:)

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  13. Indeed! Very similar for me as well. The extended family all met on major holidays at my paternal grandparents home on the east side in St. Paul...

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  14. Our Thanksgiving dinner was always at my dad's parent's house with a feast at noon, followed by "getting the Christmas tree" and/or cribbage, then another meal of leftovers at 6:00. She had a tiny kitchen and I don't know how she ever did it all either. I enjoyed your memories and the photo. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  15. Nice tribute to your Grandma. You are one of the fortunates to have experienced the feast with Grandma.

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  16. Your post made me remember the times at my grandparents for celebrations as well! Happy Thanksgiving!

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  17. Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving. I enjoyed reading your memories of earlier holidays.

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  18. I love these remembering posts. Like it just happened.

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  19. They are good memories. We think back and wonder how the traditions started but they were there when you parents were young and the aunts and uncles were young. We always went to grandma's and everyone brought in food. The cooking propane stove sat right next to the oil burning stove so the kitchen was very warm. Not table to sit around but the large table held everything.

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  20. It was wonderful for those who benefited but yes...I'm sure she was exhausted and wondering if she would ever be able to enjoy a holiday. My step father used to go on and on about hid mother who never learned to speak English and who waited on the men in the family like a slave. I told him someone should ask her if she was happy.......he didn't like that.

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  21. My early Thanksgivings were always at my maternal Grandparents' house, too, out on the farm. Later my mother was the host as all of my siblings came home for Thanksgiving. That was a houseful too. Good memories.

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  22. Well, being the first has its up-side and its down-side. I guess you've seen it all.

    We decided to break with family tradition around here, years ago, and started making turkey dressing the way we thought might make it tasty. Fully how something new for one family is tried and true tradition for another: we added apples and giblets. (But no raisins. Ew.) And we added smoked apple sausages, too--a tasty addition. We've rounded out the recipe by throwing in fresh herbs--because in California, we can ;)

    Hope your family--extended or close--joins together for a special Thanksgiving meal tomorrow, making memories for the other "firsts" in your life.

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  23. I was born in 51 and my mom's name was Elsie. Wonderful memories.

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  24. We always went to my paternal grandparents for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Same as you--just a given fact. But ours couldn't even be called a gathering. Just Grandma, Grandpa, and our family of five. We're about the same age. I was born March of 51.

    Anyways, it is 6 below on Thanksgiving here, but Karma is snuggled on my lap and we are warm and happy. Have a great day! :)

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie