Thursday, November 24, 2011

The very white Thanksgiving

In our family we remembered the Thanksgiving of 1950 as the year Grandma Rolf wore her spring coat and stayed a week.  She arrived the day before to help with pies and such.  We celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 23rd, as usual.  In fact, I don’t specifically recall the day at all.  That holiday became memorable commencing the next day, Friday. 

The weather the day after Thanksgiving was bitter, bitter cold.  Snow was beginning to fall.  Not the sort of weather a grandma would set out home with only a spring coat.  So, Grandma stayed.  By Saturday night there was two feet of snow.  The neighborhood kids were out, the parents stayed in.  There was no solution but to wait it out.

The snow got to three feet by Sunday, when it tapered off and the men went out with shovels to tackle the drifts.  They did not make appreciable progress.  Back in the house Mom and Grandma were inventing things to do.  There was enough food on hand, the milk was stretched out with powdered.  The biggest disaster was dad running out of cream for his coffee and bemoaning all the cream whipped up and gone with pumpkin pie. 

My memory of Mom and Grandma is the two of them sitting on the sofa, the black darning box between them.  The box had compartments that held various colors of darning cotton, the darning eggs and darning needles.  Every holey sock was darned, every thin sock was reinforced.  My brother and I came and went, exchanging wet mittens and socks with warm dry mittens and socks pulled out of the register grates.

By Tuesday the men had made a passable lane up both Moraine and Gardendale, augmented by the ashes from all the coal furnaces on the street.  On Wednesday it was still cold, but the mothers couldn’t take another day of kids and our neighbor, Calvin Cole, walked all the little kids to school so they wouldn’t be confused in snow drifts over their heads.  Grandma went home.

There are no family pictures of the event; here are some I found on the internet.


  1. Wow...let's hope that doesn't happen again any time soon. Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. I love winter . . . at someone else's place!