[Sca-cooks] OT/OOP "Begging for Thanksgiving"
johnnae at mac.com
Sat Oct 31 16:20:22 PDT 2009
It's mentioned here:
"What we did have and what I looked forward to was goingfrom door to
door on Thanksgiving morning, in costume,usually just old clothes with
our faces blackened by burnt cork, and begging "Anything For
A few pennies rather than an apple or candy were themore common
gratuity, and occasionally we did pick up a dimeor nickel. But I could
make a few dollars and still be all washed for the family part of
Thanksgiving, stuffed turkey with everything else.
I think the custom of begging at Thanksgiving was already dying out in
the late forties when I first started going the rounds, and I don't
recall any such begging in the late 1950's, but since high school
football wasn't much in Brooklyn, it did fill the morning in nicely
for a few years. By the time I got too old for it, we were watching
black and white NFL football, with, I think, Detroit traditionally
losing to somebody for Thanksgiving."
and here in the NYT
Memories of Thanksgiving Begging
Published: Sunday, March 26, 1995
To the Editor:
My brother and I were Thanksgiving "ragamuffins" in what is now called
the Midwood section of Brooklyn -- we called it simply Flatbush then
-- beginning in the early 1930's and continuing until our personal
vanity led us to retire. We were "too big" to appear in public in the
guise of urchins.
We had it on excellent authority -- our parents' -- that Thanksgiving
begging dated to well before World War I. They had, in fact,
participated themselves in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn.
Halloween activity was confined to the "tricks" and Thanksgiving to
the "treats" before the conflation when, instead of two autumn
opportunities to taunt our neighbors, we were left with only one,
Halloween, which soon was appropriated by the adult establishment for
its own aims.
Based upon our first-hand information, we believe the custom of
Thanksgiving begging started not later than the beginning of the
century, at least in Brooklyn, where most good things began anyway.
THE REV. GEORGE H. LA PORTE 3d Manhattan
On Oct 31, 2009, at 4:49 PM, Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius
> I'm wondering if I'm the only one here who remembers, either
> personally or via anecdotes from older friends and relatives, the
> concept of dressing as "tramps" and going "begging for
> Thanksgiving". Both my parents spoke of this; Halloween was for
> pranks (things like stockings full of chalk or baby powder or flour,
> with which to harmlessly whack the unwary traveller), but
> Thanksgiving was for dressing up and going door to door.
> I wonder if perhaps the practice died out in the Great Depression,
> when many American households in some parts of the country
> experienced far too much of this sort of thing from people who were
> doing it in earnest to survive...
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