Sometimes, inspiration comes from the most unlikely sources. My two daughters have been posting daily comments on Facebook about things they are grateful for. I began to think about how much I have written about Duquesne and my childhood over the past year. In addition, I have read countless comments from all of you regarding the shared gratitude for our hometown.
For those reasons, I thought it would be appropriate for this post to take on a spirit of thankfulness for “All Things Duquesne.”
I am thankful for:
• The value system that the people of Duquesne had and taught to their youth. There never was any confusion on which “side” we should take in the battle of “right vs. wrong.”
• The sensory experiences that meant so much; the persimmon colored skies at night, the sounds of industry that emanated throughout the day and night at the hands of our fathers, families and neighbors, the smells and sounds of fallen leaves on brick roads and the distant sound of laughter, screams of excitement and the clanking of the coasters from Kennywood Park.
• The good sisters and teachers at Holy Name Elementary School who provided such a strong educational foundation and religious fervor to all of their students. Somehow, their tugs at our ears, occasional knuckle slaps with their ruler and timeouts in the cloak rooms, paid off with a well-disciplined, respectful and pious student.
• Bud and Jerry’s Doughnuts – need I say more??
• Jim Hartman who has provided me with such a wealth of information and collateral to enrich my blog and provide you all with tons of memories! Thanks Jim!
Now PLEASE, add your two cents in the comments section following this post, and let us all know what was special about Duquesne to you. Help me to pay tribute to OUR hometown.
Before you do that, take a few minutes and remenisce a bit with the images and poem below. It certainly will put you in the right frame of mind!
Thanksgiving By Edgar Albert Guest – published in 1917
Gettin’ together to smile an’ rejoice,
An’ eatin’ an’ laughin’ with folks of your choice;
An’ kissin’ the girls an’ declarin’ that they
Are growin’ more beautiful day after day;
Chattin’ an’ braggin’ a bit with the men,
Buildin’ the old family circle again;
Livin’ the wholesome an’ old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.
Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother’s a little bit grayer, that’s all.
Father’s a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an’ to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin’ our stories as women an’ men.
Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we’re grateful an’ glad to be there.
Home from the east land an’ home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an’ best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We’ve come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an’ be frank,
Forgettin’ position an’ station an’ rank.
Give me the end of the year an’ its fun
When most of the plannin’ an’ toilin’ is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin’ with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An’ I’ll put soul in my Thanksgivin’ prayers.
Since I have spent my entire career as a retail manager, I have always been part of the madness that ensues on the day after Thanksgiving, a.k.a. Black Friday. I thought it would be interesting to see how the biggest shopping day of the year was advertised in The Duquesne Times and if there were any articles about the size of the crowds in downtown Duquesne. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find any reference to Black Friday, nor could I find any ads that reflected the HUGE Door Buster Specials that virtually EVERY store advertises to get the shoppers in their doors in the wee morning hours after Thanksgiving.
After some reasearch, I discovered that the shopping frenzy that retailers have created and fed off of on Black Friday is a relatively new phenomenon. It wasn’t until 1966 that the phrase Black Friday was even used to describe the day after Thanksgiving. I pulled the headlines and an ad from the Duquesne Times that was published on Thanksgiving Day in 1958. As you’ll see in the images below, merchants really didn’t begin the shopping push until the week AFTER Thanksgiving!
The more I thought about this, I now remember traveling on the 61C with my mother, brother, Aunt Mary and her two daughters to downtown Pittsburgh on the day after Thanksgiving. There wasn’t madness in the air, but more of an air of excitement as we would head to Pittsburgh to view the Christmas display windows of the BIG department stores; Gimbels, Kaufmanns and Hornes. The day wasn’t spent shopping, but rather enjoying all of the fantastic decorations and window animations. We would be treated to a wonderful lunch at the restaurant located in Kaufmann’s Book Department and spent the day “drinking in” the Christmas season! By the time we ready to return home, it was dark and downtown Pittsburgh was ablaze with Christmas lights signaling the arrival of the holdays everywhere you looked. We’d all settle into our seats on the bus and eventually nod off to sleep on before we had even left the city. I’d love to be transported back in time to that special day just once to drink in all of the joys that it provided.