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HAPPY THANKSGIVING! FROM YOUR COMMUNITY JOURNAL COMMUNITY VOL. XXXVIII Number 18 November 27, 2013 The Milwaukee JOURNAL 25 Cents BULK RATE U.S. POSTAGE PAID MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN PERMIT NO. 4668 W I S C O N S I N ’ S L A R G E S T A F R I C A N A M E R I C A N N E W S PA P E R THANKSGIVING MEMORIES W By Patricia O’Flynn Pattillo henever Thanksgiving approaches, it conjures wonderful memories at Grandma’s house in Collinsville, Illinois. You’re talking about six decades ago, but the memories are forever vivid. In fact, I can almost smell the fresh rolls and homebaked bread and dressing. Some people call it stuffing, we called it dressing. Maybe that’s because it was never placed inside the bird. Rather it was baked in a large casserole dish; soft and smooth on the inside but always with a crispy top on which we placed the cranberries. Notice I said cranberries, not cranberry sauce. Everything at Grandma’s house was made from scratch. Always cooked on that hot kitchen stove, before the electric range arrived. And I can only remember one turkey that graced their table when we were much older. Before that turkey, there was a big hen from their chicken coop, typically fed to be a Thanksgiving bird or Christmas fare. Grandpa also sold homing pigeons, so a few pigeons, with rich, dark gravy, always made it to the Thanksgiving table. And if Grandpa had been hunting, rabbit or quail might substitute for the capon or hen. The table was always full with Grandma’s delicacies to which we all looked forward. Hand-picked green beans or collard greens or sweet peas and carrots often made it to the holiday table, along with mac and cheese or whipped potatoes and a sweet potato casserole. But ham from the smokehouse would be brought in if the number of guests began to exceed the projected slices from the holiday bird. Grandma often baked chocolate cakes, but her signature was her gingerbread cakes, always in a long metal cake pan with sweet, tasty white frosting, made by hand. And on a good day there would be hand-cranked ice cream that everybody had to take turns in making. Lemonade that became lemon water as the pitcher emptied twice, three times or more, made the dinner complete! The house would always be full. Grandma and Grandpa, Auntie Al and Murph, and their four, our first cousins. Uncle Jim, who didn’t have children until I was married myself, would bring along a friend, if he journeyed from Milwaukee to Collinsville, to help him drive. Aunt Helen, had not had Audrey yet, and she always came late because her nursing schedule made her arrival an end of the evening affair. And, of course, there was my Mom, with all five of us. Forewarned on the ride to the house not to be “little pigs,” somehow we always forgot we had eaten before our arrival. The smells, the good food, we had “special memories!” At Grandma and Grandpa’s house there was al- Posed by models ways love, food, family and advice. Expectations were re-visited every time we came together. Several great aunts and uncles usually graced the table, and the adults always had loads to discuss, while the children, at the children’s table, sat quietly, until it was time to go to the old piano and my Mom would get everyone singing. Hymns and songs of thanksgiving, and others suggested from the floor were sung with enthusiasm. Everybody thought they could sing, though no one really did it well. But the fellowship, the reunion of family, was the reason for Thanksgiving Day. There was always something to be thankful for, even in those years of segregation, racism and variable good or bad years on the farm. Unemployment and underemployment were part of the “adult conversations,” but everyone helped whoever was in most need. Funny, but no one felt impoverished. We certainly did not feel poor! Self-sufficiency? Whatever was harvested and represented abundance Turkey giveaway helps families in need was canned, or salted and put in the cellar as Grandma had seen many years when the crops were not so good. And, she always had extra food for her kids to carry home. Pickles and chow-chow relish, and beets, pickled and plain, corn and green beans. Canned sausage and chicken were stacked on Grandma’s shelves, as well. From other farmers, she bought pears or peaches and canned those too, so cling peaches were often a dessert, along with apple sauce, candied apples, blueberry preserves and raspberry and grape jams, that sometimes ended up in fried pies. Nothing was thrown away and leftovers were reboiled into mixed preserves that was perfect on homemade breakfast biscuits. In retrospect, these were heavy meals and no one was ever told to watch your portions, but we walked, miles sometimes from school or church, or other places as did my Grandpa, a sprite, petite man, who walked over six miles, one way to get to his farm every day. He lived to be 70 plus years and died with pneumonia. The snow and worn boots were not uncommon during his farming years, and Illinois snows were harsh, as they often are today. But he provided well for his family. All four of their children graduated from college. Education was the dream that would take their children off the farm, he often said. And it did, helped by World War II’s G.I. Bill, and the US nurses’ training program. So, “over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go. The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifted snow. Over the river and through the woods, oh how the wind does blow. It stings the nose and bites the toes as over the ground we go”. We sang! Mom is at the piano, by now, the kids are singing with bravado, and the adults are singing admiringly too. It’s Thanksgiving and the family is together! We are blessed to see another year. Vivid memories, warm remembrances, joys that always come to mind, this time of the year. May you have a “Family Thanksgiving,” filled with memories, whatever they may be. Wishing you A HAPPY and you and YOU! PULSE OF THE COMMUNITY Photos and question by Yvonne Kemp QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Whatareyouthankful for this coming Thanksgiving Day? Alderman Willie C. Wade (second from left) joined UW-Milwaukee Men’s Head Basketball Coach Rob Jeter (fourth from left) and Art Arnstein (far left), president of United Milwaukee Scrap in giving away turkeys at the Dominican Center for Women, 2470 W. Locust St. United Milwaukee Scrap provided the turkeys, UWM’s men’s basketball program donated the fixings, and Wisconsin Community Services provided $50 Pick n’ Save gift cards to each of the families who attended the event. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp) FAITH & CONFIDENCE: Positioning our hearts and minds to assure success in the lives of Black children By Carol Brunson Day, Ph.D. Consultant--Brunson, Phillips & Day, Inc. EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second exerpt the Community Journal is reprinting from the National Black Child Development Institute’s (NBCDI) report on Black children in America titled, “Being Black Is Not A Risk Factor: A Strengths-based Look At The State of The Black Child.” This week, we focus on how having and imparting faith and confidence in our Black children can secure their success. I n a sense, the state of Black children is a direct reflection of adults’ values, beliefs, and perceptions of them—how we see them can essentially affect who and what they become. Knowing this should serve as a reminder to us to constantly reflect, examine and strengthen our perspectives in order to transform their lives. Two important vital assumptions should serve as priorities to guide our actions. We must have: 1. Faith that our children can grow up strong 2. Confidence that our community’s cultural essence can be a contributor to children’s growth and development Take the state of Black children in the formal education domain as a case in point. While the current educational situation for Black children is embodied in the problem commonly referred to as the “achievement gap,” faith that our children can grow up strong would lead us to the following starting assumption: • Not only is it possible to eliminate the achievement gap—it is possible to prevent the gap from appearing in the first place. Moreover, confidence in our community’s cultural essence would lead to a second starting assumption: • Only by embracing a deep understanding of the role of cultural influences on development as we work as human development professionals3 and service providers, can we design and implement effective programs. Let’s examine and discuss each perspective. Faith that our children can grow up strong The news about the status of Black children is not good. Pick nearly any indicator of the quality of life for children and you find Black and Latino children today at the highest levels of distress. What’s happened to us? Surely we haven’t stopped caring, nor have we forgotten how to provide what children need. No, I think we are overcome with a deep and unconscious fear that this (continued on page 5) JAMES W. NELSON, SR.: “I’m thankful everyday, but Thanksgiving Day means celebrating God and his gift of life in all its abundance. Meaning everything.” MORRIS BRAZIL, III: “Being able to serve this community; seeing how Career Youth Development is still serving the community after 40 years. Thank God the doors are still open.” DENISE LAMAR-EVERETT: “I’m thankful for the love and mercy my Heavenly Father has shown me. Also the love of my family and friends as we worship together.” KATHERINE RHODES: “I’m thankful for life and my three daughters. I’m most thankful for the Lord being in my life.”

MCJ Thanksgiving Edition

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