Throwback Thursday #14 – Holiday Meals

Lauren is our hostess this Thanksgiving week and she chose a great topic – whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not. The idea of a holiday meal includes any holiday occasion your family celebrates. That covers a lot of ground.

To participate, head over to Lauren’s post, read the rules and join in. Lauren gives a little guidance to get the creative juices flowing:

This week’s prompt is: Holiday Meals.  While most people, here in the U.S.  have the typical Thanksgiving turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, not everyone follows the crowd. Think back to holiday meals you participated in when you were younger. Feel free to write about Thanksgiving, or any other holiday meal you choose. Please share any items of food that you or others might feel are out of the ordinary. Do you have memories of any special or surprise guests that came to any of your holiday meals? Did you ever have a catastrophic holiday meal?  Do you still carry on the same holiday meal traditions you had as a kid, or have you changed things up? Are you now typically the host or hostess for meals (sans Covid) or do you usually participate as a guest? Does your family like to go out for holiday meals, or do you prefer to stay at home? Is your table setting different for holiday meals? Do you decorate the whole house as part of your mealtime mood? Please share some memories of your special holiday meals.

This year we had a small gathering – just my son and his children. My husband fried a turkey outside and I cooked all the traditional holiday side dishes. Our meals have a southern influence, so we include collard greens cooked with smoked turkey wings. I make my grandmother’s cranberry (Jello) salad too. My grandson requested I make carrot cake this year, so I passed on making a pumpkin pie. My husband always asks for a blueberry cheesecake, too, so there is no shortage of desserts. We added a new pre-Thanksgiving tradition this year. My husband bought a portable firepit and Thanksgiving eve we gathered around the fire and made S’mores which the kids loved!

Thinking back to years past a few memories rise to the surface. Dinners at my maternal grandmother’s were always big. All the women would gather in the kitchen to prepare the meal. When it was time to eat, the adults would be seated at the long dining room table my grandfather made, while the plethora of grandchildren would be relegated to any spot they could find, from the piano bench to the long steps that led to the bedrooms. Plates were balanced precariously on our knees.

My father was an only child, so dinner at my paternal grandparents was quite different. My grandmother used her “good” China and everyone sat together in the dining room. On the rare occasion our second and third cousins joined us, there was another table in the utility room when the children ate.

Easter dinner always included a 3D cake shaped like a lamp covered in white frosting and coconut. My sister inherited the Griswold cake mold and used it for years until it was lost in a move across country. I thought about buying one of the molds and found one on sale on ETSY, but at the price of $325 I decided against it.

I do not have a lot of memories of holiday dinners with my nuclear family because I think we were always at one of my grandparents’ houses. I do recall one year when we had Thanksgiving in our house in Ohio. I remember it well, because a man was there installing new tile in our bathroom. Odd, I know. The man tiling the bathroom kept coming in to check on the progress of the game because his son was playing for one of the football teams.

I remember one Thanksgiving when my ex mother-in-law came to visit. I was just about to stuff the turkey when she startled me as she almost screamed and said ”aren’t you going to take the lungs out?” I did not know the turkey had lungs, but they haunted me from that day forward!

One Thanksgiving I was at my father’s and my step-mom was making the turkey. Half way through the bake time, we lost power and my dad decided he would just finish the bird on the charcoal grill. Ha! I don’t think we had turkey that year. A few years later, we were again there for Thanksgiving. Everyone was seated at the table when my step-mom came into the dining room carrying the beautifully baked turkey. As she got to the edge of the table, she made an abrupt turn and went back into the kitchen. It seems she had baked the turkey with the entire bag of giblets in the cavity and she was horrified when she saw it!

I remember one very sad Thanksgiving. It was the year I was divorced and my children left to spend Thanksgiving with my ex and his parents. I did not cook just for myself. I stayed in my pajamas and watched tv all day, feeling rather sorry for myself. It was the only Thanksgiving I ever spent alone and I vowed to never do it again.

There have been so many lovely family holiday meals in my life. I have truly been blessed. We are always thankful when included at the table of friends and family. The best meals are those enjoyed with the people we love.


Throwback Thursday #13 – Snack Time

Welcome back to Throwback Thursday. I am your hostess this week. Lauren will be back next Thursday for those not celebrating Thanksgiving. If you do celebrate, drop by after your afternoon post-Turkey nap.

If you want to join in, it’s easy:

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

This week’s prompt is: Snack Time

When I first traveled to Europe, I noticed that the pastries were not sweet like they are in the US. There were great confectionery shops in Switzerland and they made the best truffles and the best hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted. We Americans love our snacks, but what about outside the US. Do people snack as much as we do here? If so, what are some favorite snacks?

Consider these questions when you write:

Did your family snack? Were your snacks homemade or purchased from a store? Did your family bake or make treats for the holidays? What was your favorite? Are you a sweet or salty snacker? What candy or snacks did you like best? Why? What snacks did you deplore? Are there any candies you loved that are no longer made? Do you snack now? How has your taste for snacks changed over the years?

When I was growing up, most of our snacks were homemade. My grandmother made cookies – usually oatmeal and raisin or peanut butter. She baked them, then stored them in old coffee tins in the freezer. As young children, we did not have free reign in the kitchen – we asked before we took anything to eat.

In the winter, we hoped for heavy snow so we could make snowcream. Snowcream is an ice cream-like dessert made from snow, milk, vanilla, and sometimes eggs. It was a remarkable tasting concoction and took much less time than churning ice cream. We did churn ice cream on occasion. We had an old manual ice cream churn. Rock salt and ice were packed around the barrel and a manual crank was turned and turned and turned until the base ingredients would finally freeze. I loved it, but it was a lot of work!

I can remember all of my siblings and me sitting around my grandmother’s chair while she peeled apples in an old pie tin. She could peel an entire apple and the peel would be in one long strip. She would then core and slice the apple handing each of us a piece, then peel another until we all had our fill.

My mother always made us a banana salad. Banana salad is made from a banana sliced lengthwise, spread with mayonnaise, and topped with chopped peanuts. Sounds strange, but it is so good. Now that I can no longer eat peanuts, I still make it but top it with cashews instead.

Mom was also the best divinity fudge maker in the land. The funny thing is I did not care for divinity fudge. It’s hard to make. But around Christmas time, when we made chocolate and penuche fudge, I was right there. The hot syrup was dropped into a cup of cold water to test for either the soft ball stage or the hard ball stage. We always got to eat the test candy that was dropped into the water.

Our favorite treat from the store was a small Coca-Cola with a bag of salted peanuts to put into the coke. Another classic Southern snack. And sometimes we had Moonpies – a cake-like treat layered with marshmallows and chocolate – always best when enjoyed with an RC Cola.

There wasn’t a lot of extra money to use for buying snacks. We had three small stores in the area so gathering pop bottles to return for the 2 cent deposit was how we got our spending money. We loved to buy penny candies – peppermint sticks, red hots, fireballs, jawbreakers, and bubble gum (mostly for the comics included). Cracker Jacks were another favorite but mainly for the prizes in the box! I loved getting tattoos.

My favorite candy bar was Zagnut – toasted coconut and crushed peanut candy bar. They are harder to find these days, but they are still around in the south at least. I was not a big fan of Mallo-Cups. Sugar Daddy (a hard caramel lollypop – or sucker as we called them) was a good candy that lasted a long time! I also loved BB Bats – a taffy sucker – and Kits – hard taffy squares.

When we traveled to Switzerland, I discovered how much better the chocolate is there. (In America, much of our chocolate has wax in it.) I had a white chocolate truffle in the train station in Zurich and I doubt I have ever had another piece of candy that ever tasted as good.

I could go on and on with this subject. I’m sure I have skipped over a lot I should have included. The truth is, l still love a good snack. I love a good rich truffle or a dish of vanilla ice cream (I actually eat frozen yogurt now). The only real candy bar I eat these days is a Mounds bar. I love coconut in any of its forms.

I fear I have a terrible sweet tooth!


Throwback Thursday #12 – TV Memories

Lauren is running the time machine this week and she is taking us back to the days of black and white television (at least for me). Click through to her post to read the rules and join in.

This week’s prompt is: TV Memories. Here’s what she had to say:

For those of us old enough to remember, the 1950’s were a time when people were transitioning from the radio to television as a means of entertainment. People sat around in the living room, watching the one television they owned. Most often it was a large box with a grainy black and white picture. Think back to the first TV shows you remember watching.

Was watching television a part of your family entertainment? Was it used as a partial babysitter? Do you remember specific shows you liked as a kid? Did you need to take turns with your siblings to choose what was watched, or did the parents have all the control? Were you around in the pre-remote-control days? Whose job was it to change channels? Were you a Saturday morning cartoon junkie? Which was your favorite show? Were you warned about sitting too close to the TV? Did you ever bug your parents to buy you some item advertised repeatedly on a program you watched? Do you ever watch reruns of the shows from your childhood?

I have written about my introduction to television several times. For recent followers, suffice it to say initially we had only one television – black and white of course – and we only received one station.

There were certain times of day the television was strictly for the adults. First when the morning farm report was broadcast, then anytime the news came on.

There were other shows the adults were more interested in, but I watched along just the same. The first was Sing Along with Mitch. Now in my head, this is where we saw “follow the bouncing ball” but I discovered there was no bouncing ball in this show. I am not the only one who thought it was there! We all gathered around the tv and sang along regardless. Here’s an old clip:

On Sunday Night (or was it Saturday?) my grandmother always watched the Lawrence Welk Show. I was not a fan of Welk, but I did enjoy the Lennon Sisters. My grandmother loved it though. Maybe this is where I picked up my love of the music from this era.

Some of the earliest shows I remember watching were McKeever and the Colonel, Flipper, Fury, Car 54 Where Are You, My Mother the Car, Mister Terrific, Mister Ed, Disney, Dobie Gillis, The Patty Duke Show, The Flying Nun, Lassie.

One of my very favorite shows was Topper – a show about a couple and their Saint Bernard who were killed in an avalanche and came back as ghosts. It was THE BEST but I am sure not too sophisticated by today’s standards.

My favorite game show was only on for one year I think. It was a hidden picture game show called Camouflage.

So many shows would follow and it would take forever to post them all. I loved shows that included music like Ozzie & Harriet (in hopes Ricky would sing at the end), the Monkees, Bandstand, Soul Train, and Where the Action Is.

Action shows ranged from Buck Rogers to Zorro to The Lone Ranger to Time Tunnel to Lost in Space to The Avengers to The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Drama shows like Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, The Fugitive, Perry Mason, T.H.E. Cat, and Highway Patrol were all family favorites.

Of course, we also loved to be scared with shows like The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Night Gallery and all the great monster movies like Frankenstein, Dracula, and King Kong.

Kids shows started with Captain Kangaroo and included all the great cartoons. I always liked the odd ones like Top Cat and Snuffles the Dog from Quick Draw McGraw.

Early television was a huge part of American culture, and the 1960s was just the beginning.


Throwback Thursday #11 – Toys and Pastimes

I am in charge of this week’s walk down memory lane. Lauren and I rotate posting this challenge every Thursday. Participation is easy.

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

This week’s prompt is: Toys and Pastimes

The global toy market in 2020 raked in revenue in excess of 94 billion USD, with the US alone accounting with over 24 billion of the total. Pretty crazy when you think how many children do not have many toys and how many have an excess. Looking back, I know why we no longer have many of our childhood toys – we wore them out!

Consider some of these questions when you write:

Did you have a lot of toys? What was your favorite? Were your toys seemingly gender-specific? Did you make toys out of household objects or things you found? Were you required to share your toys with siblings? Was there a toy you longed for but never owned? Did you ever save your own money to buy a special toy? Do you still have any of the toys from your childhood? If you did not have a lot of toys, what were your favorite pastimes that served as playtime? Have you or would you ever, purchase a vintage toy or a replica of a toy you adored? Include pictures if you have them!

We did not have an abundance of toys growing up. Birthday celebrations rarely included gifts, but we received a few on Christmas. We each got our own, but we all shared until we got older and gifts were more clothing related.

I did receive a Chatty Cathy doll one year for Christmas. She had a velvet like dress with a white lace pinafore over top. Her hair was auburn – not red. I loved her. She spoke when the string at the back of her neck was pulled and I had every phrase and her inflection memorized perfectly. “I’m sooooo tired.” “Will you play with me?” May I have a cookie?” “I hurt myself!” My daughter and her wife bought me a refurbished Chatty Cathy doll for my 50th birthday. She is in a drawer, in the box, sleeping. 😊 Click here to see the photo of my original doll.

Honestly, with the exception of my Chatty Cathy doll, I enjoyed other toys just as much. One of my favorite games consisted of pulling all my grandmother’s hard-backed books out of the bookcase. I stood them on end, fanned out, edges touching cover-to-cover. I created a castle that consisted of a maze of rooms. One slim book would become the drawbridge and my father’s chess pieces were the king, queen, and loyal subjects!

My brother received a Kenner Girder and Panel set one year. We had the best time piecing the beams, girders, and snap on panels to create homes and high rises. It was one of my favorite toys even though it was not mine. Here’s a link to a photo of the set.

One year my dad bought us an electric football game. The players moved by vibration on the big metallic football field while one player carried a cotton ball football. The pieces often spun around and moved in the wrong direction! Click here to see one posted and sold at auction.

When my grandmother was cleaning the closet under our steps I happened upon a brand new cardboard circus that had been given to my father as a child. Adult me wishes I had not been given permission to play with it, but I was. It would be nice to still have it today. Anyway, it was a full circus, printed on sturdy cardboard stock and full of vibrant decorations. There was a clown that actually climbed a rope, animal cars with cardboard animals, and all the circus performers. I have never again seen anything like it. It was fascinating even for me as a child. I punched out all the cardboard pieces and with painstaking steps, pieced every individual piece together

We had a few old rubber-like dolls. Once worn, they became patients for our dental practice. I would take straight pins from my mother’s sewing box and push them into her gums. Then up on a chair stacked with books and placed by our pole lamp with three adjustable lights. Add a pair of pliers from Dad’s toolbox and the process of extracting teeth could begin!

The one item I still have is my grandmother’s stereographic viewer. It gives a 3D-like image from two identical photographs slightly offset from one another. Here is one similar to my grandmother’s for sale on Etsy. Mine is in much better condition. This was not really a toy but it occupied me for more hours that you can imagine.


Throwback Thursday #10 – Nicknames

Throwback Thursday Memory Blog Hop is run by Lauren this week. We take turns posting this challenge every Thursday. Participation is easy.

  • Write your own post sharing your memories and leave a pingback to this post in the comments.
  • You can use the photo above in your post to make it easier to find.
  • Tag it with #TBTMemory or #IRememberWhen.
  • If you do not wish to write your own post, feel free to tell your story in the comments below.

This week’s prompt is: Nicknames

Did you grow up with a nickname? Was the nickname a form of endearment or a shielded criticism? Has your nickname influenced you in any way? Did you ever give a nickname to a family member? Have you tried to get rid of a nickname?  If you could give yourself your own nickname what might it be?

Almost everyone in our family had nicknames. Many of them were just a shortened version of their given names. I never knew my ‘Uncle Badeye’s’ real name was Hubert, nor my ‘Aunt Hainty’s’ real name was Elon until I was in high school.

My siblings and I all had nicknames given to us along the way – most given to us by our parents. We each called each other by those nicknames for our entire lives – always as terms of endearment.

I was not ‘Maggie’ until I left home. It is a shortened version of my given name that I took myself. My mother called me ‘MagCindy’ and that is what both my sisters continued to call me until they passed away.

When I was a toddler, I was fond of shedding my diaper or underpants and running around the yard. Johnny, the older boy that lived next door gave me the nickname ‘Nakipoo’. He was the only one who called me that consistently although some people in my family called me that occasionally. I ran into Johnny a few years ago when I returned home for a visit and he greeted me by saying “Well, if it isn’t little Nakipoo!” It was never said in a mean way but I suppose that is how he has always remembered me even after all these years. Trust me, I don’t run around that way any longer!

When my daughter first started school, she made me a Mother’s Day card. In the card she professed her commitment to clean for me. She misspelled ‘Mommy’ on the card. Of course I kept everything and she happened upon the card later as an adult and I forever became ‘Momy’.

We also became ‘bears’ as my daughter and her wife started referring to us as ‘Mama Bear’ and ‘Papa Bear’. Now they have the word ‘bear’ tacked onto the end of their names, too.

I have never had nicknames I felt were intended to be derogatory or hurtful in any way.

I grew up in the south and everyone was ‘honey’ or ‘sweetie’. Again, it is a term endearment, but I learned all too quickly that it is not received that way by others. I had enough vicious comments in response to a term I was raised with, I have cut it out of my vocabulary except for a few very close people. I understand how women may be offended by the term, especially when used by men they do not know so it is just easier not to use it.

I have a couple of terms of affection I use with my husband but we mostly refer to one another by our given names. I call my grandsons ‘buddy’ or ‘my buddy’ but most of my granddaughters are simply addressed by their given names or a shortened version of their given names. They are always used as terms of endearment.