Season’s Greetings! You may be feeling like the folks were in the photo above after your Thanksgiving feast. Their enthusiasm for the holiday is well, a little underwhelming. Maybe a smaller family gathering would have been a good thing back then.
Whenever I think of all the work that goes into a family get together I think of this picture from my husband’s side of of the family. Taken about the mid 1930’s, from left to right is Clifford Thompson, George Harbaugh, Bert Thompson and Ruth Johnson Thompson. In the midst of the Great Depression, the decorations were scant. Don’t know if it was a heavy meal or the numbness of having to spend the holiday with extended family that put them to sleep.
The picture was taken in the living room of George’s parent’s home. Ruth was George’s maternal aunt. We’re missing the rest of the extended family who lived there – George Sr., his wife, Elsie, and their other children Bob and Betty. Ruth and Elsie’s mother, Louisa, also lived in the household. Where was Bert and Ruth’s daughter, Jeanne? Maybe upstairs playing with cousin Betty. Did Helen Johnson Chellberg, sister to Elsie and Ruth, also come with her husband and three children? Beats me – somethings we will never know.
I’ve been reading a lot in the past week about people being thankful for not having to travel this holiday season. I can relate to that as I dreaded the holidays when our home was cramped with 40 plus people. All those dishes long before dishwashers! No quiet space at all! Lines for the bathroom! Cigar smoke and alcohol breath – yuck! Although I loved those people a bunch I liked them a lot better a little at a time.
This weekend I’ve spent looking at old family holiday photos. Some years were prosperous and others, not. No matter what your holiday plans are for this year your experience will be long remembered not just by you, but by those who know you. If you can’t be all together, keep in touch – via phone, Zoom, letter/card/text – as best you can. Ask the questions you always wondered about, like where was Helen Chellberg in the mid-1930’s? Although the pandemic made this year seem to move slowly, next year just might be too late to get your family questions answered.
I recommend you each out – reconnect – and remember those far away loved ones. Now is the time!