Getting to Thanksgiving vacation was the first goal of so many schools as decisions were being made about how to reopen back in August. At that point, Thanksgiving seemed like a million years off, but here we are at this holiday checkpoint. I know we have asked a great deal of our community members as they considered their plans, and I thank you for your thoughtful choices on behalf of these students.
As I think about the sacrifices we are all making this year, I can’t help but to reflect back on past Thanksgivings and the traditions that were part of my early childhood.
The Melrose-Wakefield football game kicked off at 10:00 on Thanksgiving morning. One year, the visitors' stands collapsed in the middle of the game. No one was hurt, but it was absolute chaos as fans scrambled to safety.
Each year after the game ended, we would walk to the Crowley’s where we helped build the neighborhood rink during the afternoon on Thanksgiving. From December 1 until March 1, everyone I knew would be on the Crowley’s rink as soon as the school day was over.
My uncle Alan Tobey would arrive from Portland early in the afternoon on Thanksgiving Day. He was nicknamed “The Crab” because of how he pointed his index and pinky fingers when he held a drink and then occasionally walked backwards while he was having conversations. He was a great man, a good friend, and had the strongest moral compass of any person I have ever met.
A couple of years, the Bruins had a home game the night of Thanksgiving, and I would go to the “old” Boston Garden with my uncle and my dad to see Gerry Cheevers, Rick Middleton, Gary Doak, and Stan Jonathan- old school hockey was the best.
Perhaps my greatest Thanksgiving memory was the year a racoon got into the garage and ate two thirds of the turkey as it sat on top of the freezer defrosting. We ended up at the Valle’s Grill on Route 1 in Saugus where the average age was 85, and we had coffee Jello for dessert. That year, Thanksgiving was awesome, the Jello- not so much.
All of these traditions have come and gone from my life. My Uncle, my dad, and Mr. Crowley have all passed away. Valle’s in Saugus closed years ago. I am so thankful for those Thanksgiving moments, and I know there will be more to come for all our children as we shake loose from this pandemic in the coming months.
The relief of getting to the first major holiday of the year has certainly caused a great deal of personal and professional reflection and that has clearly come through in that trip down Todd’s Memory Lane. I am hopeful that everyone will be able to consider the accomplishments that have taken place on this campus since September. We will certainly need to remain vigilant as December starts, but I hope everyone celebrates the success of their fall and thenewThanksgiving traditions that could develop this year.