Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Childhood Memories of Thanksgiving

I have looked through all of the photographs that I have for the perfect Thanksgiving picture to share with all of you. I have lots of family birthday parties, picnics, Christmases, but only one that is of a Thanksgiving gathering taken in 1993 at Aunt Lois and Uncle Dick's. Cherie and I did not make it home that year and Aunt Lois noted on the back of the picture that Gregg and Malinda were there but had not arrived when the picture was taken. I have also included one of my favorite family pictures, a picture of a Redmond family gathering taken probably about 1957. I don't really know the occasion or were the picture was taken--Great-grandma Redmond's? But everyone was there (Grandpa Reese must have taken the picture). Enjoy!

I thought the lack of Thanksgiving pictures strange because when you think of Thanksgiving, I believe that more than any other holiday--even Christmas, we think of family. So why so precious few pictures? I didn't really have an answer to that, but it got me thinking of the Thanksgivings of my childhood. I have lots of memories, but surprisingly, they don't seem to be of any one Thanksgiving, but collective of all of them:
I remember Thanksgivings at Grandma Reese's--always at Grandma Reese's;

I remember Great-granddad and Grandma Redmond being there, and Aunt Lois and Uncle Dick, Todd, Betsy, Terry, Donna, Gregg, Brian, Kim, and later Kory;

I remember sitting at the kids' table in the living room or at that old light green picnic table and benches placed at the end of the dining room table (it was crowded but we were all together so it didn't seem to matter);

I remember Grandpa saying the prayer "...bless this food to the good of our bodies", but Thanksgiving was special so unlike every other Sunday dinner prayer, we held hands;

I remember Grandma's homemade rolls and pies (I don't recall anything specific about the turkey or the stuffing or the potatoes--Brian, didn't you like the stuffing?);

I remember that there was always a big deal made by the bottle of Heinz ketchup on the table for my dad to put on his mashed potatoes;

I remember coffee being served with the meal and Grandma's white teapot "with the diamonds" that was on the table for dessert (and how the tea was never strong enough--the first cup always got poured back in);

I remember how the women cleaned up in the kitchen afterward, while the men went to the living room to watch football--but it wasn't too long before they were asleep in the recliners (now we know that triptephan in the turkey is a natural sedative so they couldn't help it, right?);

I remember how Grandpa fell asleep with a cigar in his mouth;

I remember how Kim, Gregg, Brian and I would find something to do whether it be games, climbing through the closet in the living room that went into Grandma and Grandpa's bedroom, or "exploring" in the upstairs (I don't remember ever going outside?);

I remember picking at the leftovers when we eventually got hungry later in the day--I always went for another piece of pumpkin pie.
Thanks for indulging me while I recount of my childhood Thanksgiving memories. I would really love to hear your memories of Thanksgivings whether they be from Great-grandma Redmond's, Grandma Reese's, or elsewhere. Feel free to share with everyone on the email--it might bring back a good memory to someone else in the family.

I pray that you all have a most blessed Thanksgiving with pleasant memories from the past and future memory-making moments this year!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It's Rabbit Season...

November in Pennsylvania can mean only one thing--men and women alike don blaze orange and take to the fields and woods in search of furry or feathered creatures to bring home for dinner. It reminds me of my favorite Warner Bros. cartoon where Daffy schemes to have Bugs taken out by the fiercest of hunters Elmer Fudd by placing signs all over the forest that it is "Rabbit Season"; Bugs retaliates by convincing Fudd that Daffy is actually the target of his pursuits and Daffy get blasted by Elmer's rifle over and over and over again. Of course this cartoon is no longer deemed appropriate so it is no longer on TV and rarely found in the Warner Bros. Box Sets (of which I admit have several).

But I digress... Here are a couple photos of those mighty hunters Bob and Ethel in their Pennsylvania Tuxedos in search of what's for dinner. My guess it was the pheasant which was stuffed and hung on the wall in their dining room all the years I was growing up. Hey Gregg or Brian, do either of you have the pheasant? Did anyone ever give it a name?


Monday, November 9, 2009

Seventy Years Ago--November 9, 1939

November 9 [2009] is the 70th Anniversary of Bob and Ethel Reese' wedding. The first picture is their wedding picture and the second is a picture taken for their 30th Wedding Anniversary. They were married in the home of Grandpa and Grandma Redmond by Rev. Hazlett of the Hasson Heights United Presbyterian Church at 12 noon. The second photo includes the attendants Aunt Hazel and Bob's cousin Don Reese. Grandma's wedding dress was "wine transparent velvet" and her flowers were yellow rosebuds and trailing arbutus. (Somewhere there is a colorized copy of the wedding picture--if anyone has it I would really like to get a copy of it!)

The photo below was taken for Bob and Ethel's 30th Wedding Anniversary.

At the time of their marriage in 1939, Ethel worked at W. T. Grant's in Oil City. For those who remember old northside Oil City, Grants was the "5 and 10" store that was located where Northwest Saving building is now, next to Woolworth, the other "5 and 10" in town. Bob started our post-high school life as a chemist at the United Refinery located just outside Oil City on Route 8 going to Rouseville. Yes a chemist. Going through Grandpa's papers when we cleaned out his house, I found several certificates for correspondence courses he had taken. It appears that he was interested in going to school (a college or some technical school) for chemistry or engineering. But as we know he established a very successful radiator repair business in Franklin.