Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Family Scrapbook

 Thanksgiving is the holiday built around family gatherings.  The older we get it seems the more complicated our lives become with all of those that you love often in different places. This post might be more interesting for any of my family that reads this blog, but you are all welcome to walk down this memory lane with me.
My mom was one of 5 sisters (she is the one with her mouth open), which meant we had lots of cousins we spent our Thanksgivings with.  It was such a blast when the McCauleys would arrive, they drove up from Rhode Island to our house in Boston. They had 6 kids and our family had 5 kids so it was just great fun!  For years we spent this holiday together and I have the fondest memories of those times.  But times have changed and now I am lucky if I have my kids and a sibling or two....Its not the big loud fun gang that it used to be~
This old Polaroid shows the McCauley boys and my nana and grampa with my sister Ellen at the end of the table lining up to get a plate of food. We always did buffet style as there were so many of us, with lots of jostling for the front of the line. Of course there was always the "kids table", which was a bridge table or two set up for the youngest cousins. I was the oldest sister, so I never had to sit at the kids table, thank goodness!
My parents house had a big dining room with paneled walls and leaded glass windows and even a buzzer on the floor that you could ring to call in the butler (if only we had a butler)~it was the kind of house that made it perfect for these kind of big family dinners so we hosted many.  I am in green next to my Nana and Grampa here, circa 1980.
Here is Uncle Will, with mom and nana and grampa at this Thanksgiving in 1977. Will died just this month and I will always remember him performing his rendition of Minnie the Moocher by Cab Calloway.  Oh what fun that was, to listen to Uncle Will sing and get us all to sing along. Mom played the piano and Will belted out the tune!
Here I am with my sisters Susan and Ellen in the early '80s~I have spent almost all of my 51 thanksgivings with them.
Nana was famous for her apple pie in addition to her fondness for Manhattans.  My sisters flank our McCauley cousins in this shot from the 70's.  Now we don't get to have Thanksgiving with the McCauleys very often any more,  so we try and catch up on other occasions maybe once or twice a year if we are lucky, often meeting them on Marthas Vineyard where we still spend summer vacations and crossing paths.
My cousin Chris McCauley joined us when Susan and her twins visited this October. My little brother Brian is  the closest in age to me.
I don't get to see the twins or my youngest sister as she is living in Kansas City now.  Here I am trying to bribe one of the twins with Ritz-bits. She was not a happy camper meeting us strangers, but I will say the other twin, my god-daughter, was very happy to hang out with Auntie Amy.  This thanksgiving my mom and dad and two brothers all traveled to KC to spend the holiday with Sue and Tim and the girls. We talked on the phone after dinner and shared a few laughs.
 Back at our house, it was my sister Ellen and her husband Mike who joined us.  A far cry from the big gang of all the siblings and cousins from days gone by. My hubs and her hubs stuffed their faces  had some hors' douevres while I toiled  whipped up the dinner. That is my youngest, Colin, in the mirror home from college.
 Son Brandon is watching me make the gravy, the bird is out of the oven waiting to be carved while the ex hubs and sister Ellen are looking down at Brandon's feisty chihuahua Kingsley. Do your kids have dogs that come to dinner or for sleepovers? Mine do! So we had three dogs, one husband, two sons, one girl-friend of son,  one step-son, one sister, one ex-husband and one brother-in-law around the table.  The modern family?
Too bad  Ellen's purse was in the way~but this was one day blogging and photo styling took a back seat. So there are no pretty pics, but it was ok as the food got high marks!

 Colin tries to get the camera on the tripod going, as hubs carves up the turkey while I am still stuck at the stove.  We woke up to no hot water, of all days (!) so I had a fast cold and unpleasant shower before the guests arrived. No hot water was a big inconvenience on this busy day in the kitchen. However my big vintage sink worked out fantastic and I was happy with how functional it was.
 So lets toast to the old days~and the fond memories. Lets not toast to the over processed hair!  This photo of me and my sisters on Thanksgiving Day was taken by Dad, who mixed the batch, back in 1999.  To those that aren't here any longer, and those that we don't get to see.  There were no Manhattans this year at our house, replaced instead with white wine. Manhattans make the cooks job harder I have found, as they pack a punch, so I vetoed the tradition. Sorry Nana! Although I can report that the tradition was upheld in Kansas City.
 I'll be content with the moments I get to spend with my sisters and my cousins and my growing family wherever I find them like this past October with cousins and sisters and nieces.
 The last few years I haven't had all of my sons around the table as life finds them splitting off with their girl friends and spending their Thanksgiving in the homes of other families. It is not so great this post finds me remembering the good old days, growing up in a great big family~with fantastic Thanksgivings. Thanks mom and dad. You did a good job giving us a childhood filled with fun times and that translates into great memories~pretty darn priceless.


  1. Fun post Amy! Sounds like you all have wonderful times together! Love all the photos too! Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Loved seeing family photos, Amy. So nice to see families enjoying their holiday times and loving each other's company. Faces may be different, but basically we're all the same! xoxo

  3. Amy I LOVE THIS!! Thank you for taking us along and allowing us a week into this treasured holiday. Like you I am not good with change, and have been blessed to always have my family around but over the years my sister has alternated with spending it with her husbands family and on those Thankgivings I really miss them being with us. Thankfully my parents always are and they are what make it what this holiday is all about. Such a beautiful post down memory lane and your family gatherings, both the big and small ones, capture the essence of this beautiful holiday, family, quality time and togetherness.
    PS You look just beautiful!

  4. Hi Amy,
    I've really enjoyed hearing about and seeing the photos of your family, both past and present.

    I love your beautiful outfit you are wearing in the last photo. You are sparkling!


  5. Good morning Amy....That was fun to see all of your pics of Thanksgivings past. As I was looking at them it made me think of past holidays of my youth or at least 10 years ago when both of my parents were still with us. It seems like after your parents are gone the family dynamics change so much. I am thankful that both of my sons were with me this year and all 3 of my grandchildren and DIL. I miss the way things used to be but like you said, memories are priceless!~Hugs, Patti

  6. Great pictures, Amy! Love how you got your son in the mirror with your hubs and brother-in-law. I know it's tough when they go off to "the other family". The first time my daughter did that, I just felt an empty spot inside. It's funny how things have changed since we were kids; everyone used to love to get together, now it's like a chore.

  7. This was lovely, Amy! There's nothing more precious than family memories. We had a house full this year (about 20) but my oldest daughter and her husband couldn't make it (Cali to OK is just too far to come for a Thanksgiving weekend) and there was still a gaping hole without them. I guess it's something you never get over.

  8. Your table looked beautiful! I love your look at Thanksgivings from the past, the bubble hair do on the sister next to your Mom is a hoot. Looks like you had a wonderful day! Laura

  9. Beautiful post dear Amy with memmories from your past family Thanksgiving, it brought a couple of tiers as we had great Thanksgivings when we were young, me, my two bros and my both parents in NY, now dad is not here. You have a beautiful family and so are you! Thanks for your kind visit and the leopard chair's skin is REAL...this is before Pita! I don't wear my fur coats ANYMORE, as couple winters ago I was in NYC and a man yelled at me and said he could live out of that coat for 1 year... lol! Happy Thanksgiving month. FABBY

  10. What great memories. You look like such a happy and loving family. Love the past and present pics.

  11. I loved seeing all of the old family pictures. It sounds like you have wonderful holiday memories.

  12. This was fun getting to see your family for Thanksgiving! Looks like you had quite a crowd. I didn't realize you had such a large family. How did that new sink work out for you this holiday? Did it pass the test? I bet everyone enjoyed spending time in your new kitchen too. I took my camera to my sisters house intending to take pictures and document the day and I forgot all about it! I think it's because I had too much champagne. Ha! Glad that you were able to capture your day in photos.

  13. I love this! Family and treasured memories are so important aren't they? I can't imagine not having hot water with a house full of people and cooking such a meal. Looks like it was a very special event even though some were missing. I don't think one ever gets over those that are not there...just changes things.


  14. What a nice trip down your own personal memory lane. Our family's holiday get-togethers have changed quite a bit since our sons joined the military and are now both married and quite far away. But we enjoy every minute we do get to spend with them and their families.

    Your day looked wonderful in spite of the lack of hot water! OMG! What a trooper :-)

  15. Awwwwwwww.... I know Amy, isn't life strange...

    I loved seeing the pictures of you over the years, and it felt really right to hear you talk about family and memories and change and stuff...

    i don't really know quite what to make of it all, but i know i'm thankful that you are my friend


  16. Thanks for sharing your past Thanksgivings. It reminded me of my own when my extended family used to "stuff" ourselves inside my Grandmas's little house. Those were fun times and good memories. I think you look beautiful in all your don't age at all!

  17. Your table setting looks so pretty, Amy! Loved seeing all your photos of Thanksgivings past and hearing about your family traditions. :) It's hard to get the whole family together for the holidays as it grows larger and spreads out to distant locations, but at least you all have those special traditions to hold on to. :)

  18. Thanks for sharing...looks like you have a great family!

  19. Amy, you had my eyes tearing up. Such sweet memories. That is what it is all about. Thanks for sharing, Ginger

  20. Oh Amy ! Your post brought tears to my eyes ! (Don't worry, hormones...I'm in the middle of pre-menopause...) As I was reading you it brought back memories of my own, not Thanksgiving but Christmas memories. What you are depicting is happening in almost every family. It seems we just can't reunite everybody for family gatherings like our parents did. Why ? I know, we all have our own family now, it's more difficult to have all of our cousins with us. But our brother's and sister's ? Shouldn't we be able to all spend Thanksgiving and Christmas together with our parents ? Many families are now scattered all over the country, I live 4 hours drive from my father, sister, aunt and cousins, which I know is not that much far, and 6 hours drive from my brother so I don't get to see him very often.
    It was nice seeing your family pictures and your sons. Maybe in the future some grandchildren will be sitting at your Thanksgiving table !
    My condolences for your Uncle Will.


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