Thanksgiving: A nonagenarian's look back

In celebration of Thanksgiving this week, we are featuring a client, Grace, who at 96 years old has experienced close to one hundred Thanksgivings. The stories of her Thanksgiving experiences offer a window into historical events as well as Grace’s own life changes over the past century.

As a child, Grace’s Thanksgiving was a one-day event at her parents’ home. As she grew older and moved away, she would still return home each Thanksgiving to celebrate with her family. She recalls returning to Virginia every year except for 1939, when transportation was limited due to World War II.

As the war continued and more and more men were deployed overseas, women began stepping into workplace roles that had previously been occupied by men. That’s when Grace moved to Delaware to take a job as a business teacher at a high school. She was allowed two days off for Thanksgiving and traveled by train and ferry back to her parents’ home in Virginia.

Grace recalls a very memorable Thanksgiving in 1946. That weekend, her husband had an asthma attack and had to be admitted to the hospital. Grace was forced to return to her teaching position back in Delaware while he recovered. Big changes were in store once again in 1950. That year, Grace gave birth to her first child and owned her first car. The car made it much easier to travel home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Fast forward 68 years to this week, and you can find Grace hosting Thanksgiving at her own home, as she has for the past decade. She will also be celebrating her son’s birthday, which falls on November 28, and will be hosting her fifth great grandchild. She will be serving a traditional, buffet-style Thanksgiving meal with a southern twist, including turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes and apples, corn pudding, string beans, and scalloped potatoes. Spice cake as well as pecan, apple, pumpkin, and minced meat pies will be served for dessert. Grace says that the apple pie is her favorite, and her son will say grace before the start of the meal.

This year, Grace says, “I am grateful for my health and new great grand baby. Most people at 96 can’t have Thanksgiving in their own home.

Lori’s Hands wishes you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! Whether you are a client, a volunteer, a donor, or a friend, we are grateful to consider you part of the Lori’s Hands community.