In the early morning of thanksgiving, I arise, much like my Grandmother used to do when I, as a little girl, would go and visit her house for the holidays in Boston. My grandmother, Alice, would be up at 4am, to prepare and baste her turkey that had been delivered by hand to her kitchen. We kids would squeal with anticipation, when her old fashioned, Victorian era doorbell rang, because we knew it had to be a long awaited cousin from Dorchester or Malden. Everyone lived in the city, with the exception of the Rowe family, who lived in the suburbs (that was us), or my cousins who lived in the most exotic place in the universe to New Englanders. Miami.
Back in Boston, we would stay in the cool temperatured ”back bedroom”, which served as a toy room, a nap room for babies (there were always new babies in Irish Catholic, JFK land of the sixties, Boston).Every home had three things: #1: A painting of Jesus, and if you were really special, you would have the eternal flaming heart of Jesus,wrapped in a crown of thorns, in a gold-laced frame and most importantly: IN THREE-D! This was very special and as you moved your head back and forth, the flames leapt up, like the heart was on fire! Unbelievable. I always wondered why the crown of thorns didn’t catch on fire. That a logical thought, isn’t it? I remember being eight and asking my mother that very question. She told me to go and read a book. So I did. I ended up thinking in Heaven, things that are flammable don’t get burnt. Different rules for different places. However, I digress. #2: A photo of John F. Kennedy. In the good days. Before guys went around, shooting people with the last name of Kennedy, or there were had “accidents” with blondes off bridges. Some people even had photos of JFK with The Pope. Which brings me to the third and last item every home had.#3: A picture of the Pope.
Along with all of the necessary items for a Boston duplex, my Grandmother and Grandfather also had a TV set that seemed to only get Lawrence Welk or The Sound Of Music. They also had an amazing fireplace in this home, made of tiger pine and miniature ceramic tiles from England. The floors were rock maple, with mahogany inlay around the boarders. I know this, because I spent a great deal of time on the thick woolen carpets, reading, as I was often told when I asked too many questions. My Grandfather worked at Boston University, and kept me plied with books. Anne Frank, Death of A Salesman (still my favorite), French Textbooks, Readers Digest Best Loved Stories, Condensed (Like soup?) and for fun, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not or Nursing Textbooks that showed, “Diseases Of The Skin”. All true. All wonderful. All read, multiple times.
I see it’s time for me to go baste my turkey. Later, my doorbell will ring, with cousins from the suburbs. I’ve moved back to the city. That’s where all the memories happen. Happy Thanksgiving.