Thanksgiving Day, 1912

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1912:  Yesterday thought perhaps I’d go up to McEwensville for my dinner, but then I changed my mind as I didn’t think I could afford it. Besse was out this afternoon. I actually believe that I am getting a rather bad cold.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

This entry suggests that a Thanksgiving feast may have been held (minus Grandma) in McEwensville. Was it a fundraiser? . . . for the school? . . . or maybe the volunteer fire department . . . or a church?

Was the feast held at the McEwensville Community Hall?  The community hall has  existed for more a hundred years ago–and I don’t think that it’s changed much over the years.

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I can almost picture gaily chatting women, men and children in old-fashioned clothes sitting at long tables laden with turkey, giblet stuffing, homemade gravy, mashed potatoes, and lots of pies–apple, pumpkin, minced meat, mock cherry. . .

It doesn’t sound as if the Muffly family ended up doing very much  to  celebrate the holiday—though they must have had a small celebration since Grandma’s married sister Besse Hester came out from nearby Watsontown.

Grandma’s mother probably still is not feeling well. The previous day Grandma wrote:

Guess we aren’t going to have much of a Thanksgiving tomorrow cause Ma is sick and we haven’t got a turkey.

It’s been a rough November in the Muffly family. Her little brother Jimmie missed school on November 19 because he was sick; then her mother was sick—and now it sounds like Grandma may have caught the same thing.

18 Responses

  1. That’s so cool that the same hall is still there for you to visit. That put’s the ‘walking in their footsteps’ into perspective. Awesome

    • McEwensville is one of those places where things seldom change (for better or worse). I live in a suburb where a building that looks perfectly fine to me one day is sometimes gone the next; and a new building is build on the spot within a few months. It’s so different from rural Pennsylvania, where very old buildings are often lovingly cared for.

      • I think they’re really smart to preserve. I’m sure the City of Edmonton has many regrets with history lost to the wrecking ball. It’s disturbing what goes to a landfill and then the new building looks so non-discript, plain and down rite awful.

  2. I can picture the same scene you describe in the community hall. Sorry the illness seems to be spreading!

    • The spread of the illness across the various members of the family bring back memories of when my children were younger–and if one caught something the entire family would soon have it.

  3. I feel for them, as medicines were not widely available as they are today – there is no hopping in the car (or wagon in this case) to go to the pharmacy to purchase what you need. Although I am sure they kept things on hand.

  4. When the mother of the house is ill, things fall behind at home. I hope Bessie’s visit made things better.

  5. I guess some Thanksgivings are bound to be subdued when various illnesses are making the rounds. We had a few sick ones this year, too. Sigh – perhaps I know a little of how your Grandma felt!

  6. Very interesting blog Sheryl, I remember when I was a kid my grandparents and an aunt had some kind of oriental? flu over Christmas. We always had big doin’s but that year we just fixed dinner and took it to their door as it was highly contagious. They all recovered but it was a bummer nontheless!

  7. [...] was really hoping she was getting over the cold that she’s complained about on and off ever since November 28. Now this . [...]

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