Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. Why? Well, I have a lot of nostalgia from my childhood about this wonderful holiday. Also, probably because I have a weirdly deep sentiment for high schoolers coming home from college. To me, high school graduation is a much bigger deal than college graduation, because it’s when you leave everything that you’ve known your whole life.
That’s me in my favorite winter jacket, my high school letterman jacket. It’s the warmest thing I own, so now that I’m in my 40’s I feel like I can wear it again and not be too weird about it.
The towns in New England have their big high school rivalry games on Thanksgiving morning. In my town, it was Quincy (booooooo!) vs. North Quincy (hurray!).
We decorated our schools with streamers and signs and had a BIG pep rally on the day before. Our favorite supporter, Dr. Yacubian, would come with gifts of championship banners, and cheer us on. (He’s like the warmest, most loving Daddy Warbucks to our school.)
The Yakoo is a caricature of Dr. Yacubian.
Many people who live in my hometown have generations of family who live there as well. For example, I was the 3rd generation of my family to graduate from my elementary and high school. (My grammie, mom, me…)
So, the rivalry is pretty heated. When I was in high school, my grandfather, who graduated from Quincy High, and I would play a cribbage game the night before to predict the outcome of the Turkey Day Game.
When I was a little girl, we had Nicholson Thanksgivings. (That’s my Grammie Sweeney’s side of the family) On Wednesday night the women would have a “peeling party” to prep the veggies together. On Thanksgiving, many Nicholson families would cram together, with white tablecloths on all of the tables, into a little New England house and have a grand time. I think the last one was when I was 8. That year my cousin Jennifer, sister Julie and I displayed the Nicholson Family Tree that we had worked on during the summer. We mailed our relatives a letter and collected the pictures that they sent of each of the people in their families. With poster board, pencils, glue, and rulers in hand, we made a terrific family tree.
When I was in college, every year except my sophomore and second senior year, I went to one of my friend’s houses. (I went to school pretty far from home.) My sophomore year in college I went “home” to see my parents’ new house in Fairfax for the first time, and that was my mom’s first time hosting Thanksgiving Dinner in Virginia. We can’t believe that it’s been 22 years!
My favorite Thanksgiving in college was my last one, right before I graduated. I helped to host with my friend Kevin. He cooked the Turkey and I did a lot of sides. I also got to be in my apartment all by myself. The quiet was nice.
For the last 22 years, we’ve celebrated in Fairfax City, Virginia, at my parents’ house. It’s always a warm, welcoming atmosphere. I describe them as “Norman Rockwell Thanksgivings”. This past year was the smallest group, I think: Mom, Dad, Julie, Andrew and Katrina, Baby Quincy, my 5, and my in-laws. The food is delicious (and not too unhealthy, since we’re New Englanders) and we have fun playing games.
And, of course, I have to check on the Quincy/North Quincy results. This year? 33-8 NQ!