While we’re gathering with family and friends this week, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a short story that reveres a more simple time. An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott tells the story of a farm family in the 1820s. The Bassett family is preparing for Thanksgiving when word comes that grandma is dying. Mr. and Mrs. Bassett pack up the sleigh and the baby to make the twenty-mile trip, leaving the rest of the children behind.
The oldest boy is sixteen, so it’s not as bad of a situation as it sounds. He and the oldest girl are left in charge of their five siblings. The children do chores, play together, eat together, tell stories, and in general, get along far better than most kids today would. The fun comes when the two oldest girls decide to cook the Thanksgiving meal for their mother. They don’t know quite what they’re doing, but they make a serious effort, with the usual comic results.
An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving is a sweet story that would make a good read-aloud, especially since it’s full of colloquialisms and out-of-use terms. It was first published in St. Nicholas magazine in 1881. Since it’s set in the 1820s and its author was born in 1832, that makes it–you guessed it–historical fiction. Add historical fiction author to Louisa May Alcott’s many credits. Who knew?
Happy Thanksgiving from the Damsels!