Fifth Grade Thanksgiving Party

Ruth Beikert, my fifth grade teacher, was an old fashioned patriot, the kind who never questioned our great land. She was jovial and good hearted and overly generous with praise for those of us who fit her patriotic tableau. “Very good, very, very good! A plus, A plus, plus!” could be her evaluation of your response of “Henry Hudson” when asked, “Who was Hudson Bay named after?” Not a very hard question but a very good, very, very good answer.

Part of her patriotic tutelage was her unbridled Protestantism which compelled her to hold a Thanksgiving Day feast to celebrate bringing God to America. All the kids made their contributions. Some brought in baked corn, others brought cookies (a Pilgrim staple). We had some really good hot turkey fresh from her farm. And we even had some homemade cider that had been brought into the room a week before and allowed to sit in glass gallon jugs in the sun for all of that time.

The kids eagerly devoured most of the fare but the reviews were mixed on the cider. You either fell into the group those who did not like it after the fist sip or you fell into the group that fell often after imbibing. Classmate Barry was absolutely loopy. The cider, it was discovered, had hardened a bit and several of the kids were a bit happy.

Today when I hear some complain of the “nanny society” where schools preclude kids from bringing in baked goods from home for a birthday celebration, I think back to that day. No nannies there!