The 4Fs of Thanksgiving

I’ve been getting ready for Thanksgiving. Cleaning neglected rooms. Brainstorming a long weekend’s worth of menus. Slowly laying in supplies.

All this focus on Thanksgiving, and the impending descent of Christmas shopping, has made me wish for a simpler day, without all the sales hype and food flurry. You know… A Thanksgiving Day like Rose might have had.

Surprise! Things in 1929 were not so different from today after all. At least not according to a small town Iowa¹ newspaper for Thanksgiving Day (November 28, 1929). Even then, Thanksgiving was all about the 4Fs: Family, Football, Food, and black Friday.

As I perused the paper, these headlines jumped out:

  • BIG DINNERS, FOOTBALL THANKSGIVING FEATURES: “Headlining the gridiron program will be the attempt of Iowa State College to win its one and only Big Six Conference game in a match played at Lincoln against the Nebraska Cornhuskers who need a victory to clinch the circuit title for the second successful year.”
  • HOOVERS HAVE QUIET HOLIDAY (in case political history isn’t your strong suit, Hoover was the President in 1929; yeah, I had to look it up <g>)
  • and these many pages of ads for After-Thanksgiving Sales


Of course, Rose, being an awful cook, no doubt convinces Harold to spend Thanksgiving at their friend’s house (since neither Rose or Harold have family in the area), and being poor farmers, there are no tickets to the big Cornhusker game in Lincoln (which would be at least a two-hour drive from their little town, anyway). But, they would have enjoyed their Thanksgiving feast—traditional Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and pie, all, thankfully, cooked by Helen, Rose’s friend—before hunkering down by the radio to “watch” the Big Game².

And it’s likely that Rose and Helen perused the sale ads, dreaming of the things they would buy if they had the money.

Pretty much like today.

Happy Thanksgiving!

¹ Nebraska is pretty stingy with their online historical content, like old newspapers, so instead of using a small town Nebraska paper representative of my fictional Inglewood, I found a small Iowa paper of the time.
² In case you’re wondering, Nebraska beat Iowa State on Thanksgiving Day in 1929 with a score 31-12.

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