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Thanksgiving leftovers a day before

With the holidays approaching and many looking forward to getting together with family and friends, it might be fun to take a look back at Thanksgivings past in these items gleaned from a predecessor of this newspaper, the Mauch Chunk Times News.

For our older readers, the following items might bring back some memories. Younger folks might recognize a family member.

Whatever the case, they might stir some conversation over a dinner table.

• From 1934, came this item, under the headline “East Mauch Chunk School News”:

“Thanksgiving – what does this term mean to you? Does it merely mean a holiday, turkey time, or do you realize the full significance of Thanksgiving?

Many, many years ago our Pilgrim forefathers set aside a special day on which to give thanks to Almighty God for the blessings bestowed upon them. Since that time the last Thursday of each November has been set aside in observance of the first Thanksgiving.

Gradually we seem to be getting away from the idea of old fashioned gratitude and are inventing a substitute which is taking on entirely different characteristics. This day has ceased to be a real thanksgiving, giving in its place “just another” holiday.”

Bernice Bonner was the editor and Isabel Kasten the assistant editor, Reporters were Betty Campbell, Gertrude Meyers, Marjorie Duffy, Elaine Rabe, Marion Michel, Lorraine Kindred, Max Schlecht and Norma Gosser.

• From 1945, 78 years ago, a story listed reasons to be thankful it wasn’t 1623, some 400 years ago now. Here are a few:

“We can be thankful that we did not have to contend with many of their problems, some of which were:

Anthracite coal, electricity and gas were unknown.

Coffee and tea had not been discovered.

The ‘starve ’em and bleed ’em’ method of medicine was practiced and anesthetics were not used. Annual death rate was one in every 17 persons.

Telephone, telegraph, wireless, steam, gasoline, kerosene, refrigeration, were among the inventions that they had to do without in 1623.”

• From 1930, there was the beginning of a highflying relationship when this item appeared:

“Occupying a Travel-Air monoplane piloted by Captain Sidney Riley, of the Allentown Aviation Corporation, Caroline Merle George, Ballietsville, and Leroy G. Follweiller, Bowmanstown, will be married Thanksgiving Day, as soon as the plane attains sufficient altitude after its takeoff from the airport.

Rev. Beck, Bowmanstown, will be the officiating clergyman. The bridesmaid will be Betty Knauss, Emmaus, and the best man will be Ernest Bloch, Allentown. The bride-to-be is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin J. George, Balliettsville. Mr. Follweiler is the only son of Mr. and Mrs. George Follweiler, Bowmanstown.”

• On Nov. 26, 1946, the newspaper gave readers a little history lesson in just three paragraphs, under the headline “Thanksgiving 325 Years Old.”

“Thanksgiving Day will be observed tomorrow. It was established in 1621 in the village of Plymouth, Mass., by the Pilgrims. They had a bountiful year, and in appreciation, the Pilgrims and Indians joined in expressing thanks to God. It spread from colony to colony.

Mrs. Sarah Hale began writing letters to each new president, asking him to appoint one day on which the whole nation could celebrate Thanksgiving. Finally, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln chose the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day.

For 75 years the president each year proclaimed the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day. In 1939, 1940 and 1942, Thanksgiving was celebrated in certain States on the third Thursday. In 1941, however, Congress declared that henceforth Thanksgiving should be celebrated by every State on the fourth Thursday of November.”

• In 1935, the newspaper asked readers “Why Cook on Thanksgiving” when this appeared:

“Give your family a treat by taking them to the Central Hotel where a full course turkey dinner will be served for $1.00. The hotel boasts of a complete line of refreshments in addition to the dinner service.”

• In 1939, patients at Coaldale Hospital were guaranteed some good eats.

“Coaldale Hospital patients will not be deprived of their Thanksgiving Day dinner tomorrow, it was announced today by officials in that institution.

The menu will consist of tomato juice, roast turkey and filling, giblet sauce, mashed and candied sweet potatoes, coleslaw salad, cranberry sauce, fruit cup cake and ice cream.”

• In 1913, men couldn’t get a shave or haircut after this item was announced:

“The various barber shops throughout the Mauch Chunks will close on Thanksgiving Day. Several of the Knights of the razor have already outlined their program of diversion for the occasion, and a little hunting stunt will constitute a part of the day’s bill of fare for quite a few of the boys.”

• And just like every other Thanksgiving, the newspaper ran a brief the day before telling readers it wouldn’t be published in observance of the holiday. In fact, there’s probably one somewhere on these pages today.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Ed Socha is a retired newspaper editor with more than 40 years experience in community journalism. Reach him at tneditor@tnonline.com.

The foregoing opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or Times News LLC.