Thanksgiving Memories

pumpkins and leavesBasking in the glow of another year of Thanksgiving memories, what’s your most memorable Thanksgiving? Here are a few of ours from Firelight Foundation Staff…


My most memorable Thanksgiving happens every year at my Aunt Marie's house in Encino, California. My mom has six siblings, and so I have 20 cousins, and all of us get together there. The teasing is incessant during Thanksgiving, because even though I am the oldest in my immediate family, my 5 older boy cousins still act like they are my older brothers making up for the time they don't get to see me. Thanksgiving usually starts with a 6-hour car drive from northern California. On the way down, we always end up talking about the smorgasbord of food, and most especially the pumpkin muffins, the recipe to which my Aunt Marie will never share (I had toThanksgiving muffins text it to myself last year, as we were making them, in order to add the recipe to my own collection). For my family, Thanksgiving is just a prelude to the holiday season, because a month from now we will all get together at my Grandma's house in Santa Rosa to celebrate Christmas and do it all over again.  Every year, we are all getting older, and the youngest of the cousins is now 13, but there just isn't enough room at the adult's table. There is nothing like having to sit at the kid's table when you are 23. I will be there again this year, and I don't think I will be moving anytime soon.

--Bridget Zwimpfer, Program Assistant


Every Thanksgiving a family member makes the "Depression Jello" my grandmother used to make every holiday. We all eat some, even though we really don't like it. She was the strongest feminist we knew and influenced all four of her granddaughters to be independent thinkers. Whenever we eat the Jello, we remember to be thankful for our strong grandmother who continues to live in us all.

--Dawn Weathersbee, Development Associate


Growing up we went to my grandparent’s home each Thanksgiving. We only lived 20 miles away and arriving by noon was important. The grain elevator my grandparents lived beside sounded a noon bell and I remember racing in the door trying to beat it some years. My grandparents followed their traditions closely and I always imagined they liked the consistency of that noon bell. My mom was the oldest of five siblings and the house was full when all my aunts and uncles arrived with their families. One of my favorite memories is when my mom decided to “experiment” with a new dish to bring to Thanksgiving dinner—stewed bananas and carrots. As everyone hesitated to spoon some onto their plates, she giggled as much as I did. I asked her what made her decide on bananas and carrots. She answered, “I just thought it would be fun to try something new.” It wasn’t a tasty dish, but it reminds me how much fun she added to each holiday just by trying something new.

--Robin Dixon, Communications Officer


Tell us about your most memorable Thanksgiving, was it this year?