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Memoir Musings, Issue #106--November issue--Happy Thanksgiving & the National Day of Listening
November 25, 2008

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Newsletter Contents

Feature: National Day of Listening

What's New at

Memory Prompt: Thanksgiving Traditions

National Day of Listening

Thanksgiving memories

StoryCorps, a national oral history project, has declared Friday, November 28 as their first annual National Day of Listening. Their request (as stated on their web site):

This holiday season, ask the people around you about their lives — it could be your grandmother, a teacher, or someone from the neighborhood. By listening to their stories, you will be telling them that they matter and they won’t ever be forgotten. It may be the most meaningful time you spend this year.

You may recall that StoryCorps visited the Cincinnati area in May of this year; they parked their trailer/recording studio at The Museum Center. This traveling recording facility allowed a family to make an appointment to record a single 45-minute interview. One copy of that interview was available to take home, and another filed in the archives of the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress.

StoryCorp TrailerTheir initiative is a powerful reminder that asking about someone’s life is an honor, and preserving stories of that life, a gift. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I hope you consider their request; ask your loved ones about their lives—you will bestow an honor on them and likely learn something new and fascinating yourself.

(Photo by Michael Shuman, David Reinfurt)

Happy Thanksgiving to all; I’m blessed to know you!


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Monthly Memory Prompt: Thanksgiving Traditions
memory prompt

Thanksgiving offers a unique set of family memories, unencumbered by overwhelming commercialism. It is also a day of strong traditions, which you may want to document for your family and future generations in a Holiday Traditions book.

What are some of your family Thanksgiving traditions regarding:

  • Who is the traditional host, or does that rotate
  • What is the traditional menu for your family
  • What recipes have been handed down through generations
  • Where the turkey comes from
  • Who does what on this day (cook, set table, clear table, etc.)
  • Role of football games on TV
  • Thanksgiving blessing--what is said and by whom
  • Children's tables (remember those?)
  • Decorations on the tables or through the house
  • Before and after-dinner activities
  • What happens to the leftovers?

As strong as our holiday traditions are, each year seems to bring some new wrinkle:

  • What's new this year?
  • What traditions have we let go of, in the face of changes in the family or circumstances?
  • What will your family be especially thankful for this year?

However you celebrate, I wish you peace, joy and health this Thanksgiving!

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. (Thornton Wilder)

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