Thanksgiving Dinner in the 60s


above: Ronny enjoying his delicious & fancy meal; below: Wendy’s family, a delightful bunch

We were still living in Waukegan, Illinois, Steve and I and our four young children. This particular Thanksgiving, we packed ourselves up and drove to Chicago, where we would enjoy the meal at our beloved “Nanny Wolbach’s” house. (This is the what my children called their great-grandmother.)

I was the proud preparer of Thanksgiving dinner this year, having taken over from Grandmother and two aunts. Mama and Grandma were with me in the kitchen as I was transferring Mrs. Turkey (we always bought hens) onto the platter, ready to march into the dining room to present her to my step-father who was an expert carver, much to the relief of husband Steve. Already waiting on the sideboard were creamed spinach, a sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top, green beans almandine, a tossed salad, Parker House rolls, and cranberry sauce (as I have to admit, my favorite Ocean Spray jellied cranberry sauce).

Our four children were seated at the table that was decorated with small unlit candles of pilgrims and turkeys. I began the procession of Mrs. Turkey on her platter, with Mother and Grandma walking behind me. Before I reached the closed, swinging kitchen door, Mrs. Turkey slid off her platter, smack onto the kitchen floor.

Mama, Grandma and I gasped. But quickly, as if by some hidden signal, they both said, “Pick it up, Dear, put it back on the platter, no one will know.”

So I did.

By some miracle, Mrs. Turkey remained mostly without injury from her fall onto the floor. I walked through the open swinging kitchen door into the dining room and set the platter down in front of my step-father, who (being a dear man, but almost obsessive over germs and cleanliness) would never know where Mrs. Turkey had been before coming to him.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all! With love and gratitude … Wendy