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NEWBERRY — The following submitted their memories of Thanksgiving and what the holiday means to them.

Veronica Singleton, Newberry

The year was 1959 and I was 11 years old and a sixth grader at Drayton Street Elementary School. My parents are the late Sallie and Thomas (Tobe) Werts and were finally able to build a home for us.

Coming from a family of 13 and being the 12th child, I was happy that God had blessed us with a new home that we could call our own. This memorable Thanksgiving Day, we were busy moving into our new home. We began moving about 7 a.m. and this was an all day job. Although I was moving into a new home, there was a bit of sadness also because the house we were living in was the house the late Dr. J.E. Grant delivered me in.

We lived on the Belfast Road and the house was owned by the late Mr. and Mrs. Aubrey Davis. They were good people. My brother Hasket (deceased) was a bus driver for Reuben School. I packed most of my belongings and my books and placed them on the bus for Hasket to bring to our new home.

Thanksgiving Day in 1959 will forever hold special memories for me.

Marina Ziehe, Brazil

My favorite Thanksgiving memory is from last year. Because I am an international student at Newberry College and do not have any family in the United States, I decided to go to Miami Beach with four other international friends to enjoy the holiday. The road trip lasted 11 hours. I drove six hours and my friend from Spain drove four. We were so excited. We stayed in a hotel in front of the beach and of course, went to the beach every single day.

It was sunny and warm. The water was so blue and the sand so white that it reminded me of the beaches in my home country, Brazil. We did not have a Thanksgiving dinner with roasted turkey, but we got to eat Brazilian, Mexican, and Italian food during our stay there. I loved spending some time with my friends in Miami. Our Thanksgiving trip was a success.

Mary Alex Kopp, Newberry

Thanksgiving at the Robinson’s is quite the hilarious event. Each year we travel to my grandparent’s house in Rock Hill for great food and a fun visit. As the house slowly fills with family, the volume goes up with it. We’re probably some of the loudest people in the planet, all talking at the same time about favorite TV shows, movies, politics, and family memories. Then there’s the sudden silence as the meal is served and we all stop to savor every bite of goodness that only comes once a year.

But the festivities don’t end at the meal. No, my Nana has created the unique event that is ‘Practice Christmas.’ It’s exactly what it sounds like. Every year she gives each member of the family a small gift that’s perfectly wrapped so we can “practice” opening our gifts we’ll receive at Christmas. And over the years our family has grown from 2 to 18 so that practice is needed as gift opening has become chaos!

Brenda Lester, Newberry

In the early 90s we were fortunate to have a Christmas tree farm across from our home. The farm was at the century old home of the Boulware’s. Lewis Boulware lived in Winnsboro at the time. He came over and planted the trees. He called it the Eutopia Tree Farm. We were so sad when he decided he couldn’t do it anymore.

After a big lunch we would all go over, pick out our tree, cut it, and bring it home to decorate it.. We always took pictures of the grandchildren with the tree of our choice. My son-in-law’s favorite thing for supper was a turkey sandwich and still is to this day. Nanny Lester and Ms. Carrie always gave their input on decorating the tree.

Sharon Cromer, Newberry

My favorite memories of Thanksgiving would have to be spending the day with my family and enjoying the fellowship and our Thanksgiving meal. I have always been blessed to have my immediate family living here in Newberry where we could be together every Thanksgiving.

As a child, having my father smoke the turkey and my mom prepare the meal was an exciting time. My birthday falls right at Thanksgiving each year so when my family would gather on Thanksgiving Day, we could celebrate both occasions. Over the years, my husband and I now have our families at our home for Thanksgiving and continue the same traditions. I am so thankful to have my family with us on this special holiday, for at the end of the day, it’s not about what’s on the table, but who is seated around it. Family truly is the greatest blessing of all.

Derek Underwood, Prosperity

I would have to say my favorite Thanksgiving memories were as a child. My grandmother Nancy (Nanny) would invite the entire family to her home on Walnut Street in Newberry. The house was huge and we had so many tables it was quite overwhelming. All the smells and the laughter are what I remember most. This was when my great-grandmother (Granny) and my mother (Lisa) were still living and all was right with the world.

The children never were “pushed off to the side” but in fact we were allowed to sit at the main table. All the dinnerware were placed perfectly and the horn of plenty (sometimes actually a real one or one shaped and baked as best I can remember) secured the centerpiece.

The turkey was the main attraction, of course, but I enjoyed the spiral ham more. The dressing was my favorite, definitely without the giblet gravy (Yuck). She still makes the same dressing to this day. Once my plate was made I ate and ate until I was completely stuffed. But wait. I always saved room for the best pumpkin and sweet potato pies around. Sometimes, Nanny would even make a separate pie for me. I did say I was an only child, but I was also the first of the grandchildren.

Having all my cousins, aunts and uncles together on Walnut Street was a treat in itself.

Dean Lollis, Prosperity

My memories of Thanksgiving revolve around “family.” Thanksgiving has always been a time to take a break from the “busy-ness” of the world and share more than just a meal with those I love. The Thanksgivings that my family celebrates today are, in some ways, very different from the ones that I experienced as a child.

Some of the people who were a part of those meals are no longer physically with us. At the same time, there’s a lot of things that are comfortable and familiar. We still eat some of the same things and they are made by some of the same recipes. It has been special over the years to now have a family of my own and get the chance to celebrate Thanksgiving with my wife, Denise, and daughter, Grace, no matter where we find ourselves on that particular Thursday in a given year. Because of that, I could take away the meal, the time spent together, the football games, etc., and I’d still have a reason to be thankful.

Brie Logue, Edgefield

My favorite Thanksgiving memories are every year that I get to enjoy dinner at my grandparents house. My Papa, Bill Logue, spends hours cooking the perfect turkey while my grandmother, Bessie Wilson Logue, works on all the “fixins.” She makes the perfect dressing for the turkey and I also love her sweet potato pie, which I hope to one day make for my family. Our Thanksgiving dinners have always been very traditional and that’s just the way I like it.

Foster Senn, Newberry

Thanksgiving brings back many fond memories. We went to our grandmother’s in Clinton each Thanksgiving, a day filled with much excitement as a child. In fact I remember as we headed up Belfast Rd. and Hwy. 56, each year we children sang at least part of “Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmothers House We Go.”

After watching parts of the Macy’s parade, we would sit down for Thanksgiving dinner, which my grandmother had prepared days for, of course. Oyster dressing and homemade cranberry sauce were two of her specialties.

Newberry and Presbyterian still played the Bronze Derby game on Thanksgiving Day then. If the annual game was in Clinton, the Newberry football fans in the family would finish dinner and then walk the few blocks from my grandmother’s home to PC’s stadium to cheer on the Indians. Those Thanksgivings at my grandmother’s remain very memorable.

Compiled by Elyssa Parnell, staff writer for The Newberry Observer

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