First Thanksgiving Dinner in the US, 1960 in Danville, Illinois
Three weeks ago, my wife and I sent invitations to all our close relatives in the area for a Thanksgiving Dinner and Reunion, 2012 next week. We were expecting about 20 guests, but as of today only 8 will be able to attend. My oldest son and his family will be out of town. My niece and sister-in-law will be in Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. My other sister-in-law, will be working. My other sister-in law will be spending her thanksgiving day with her husband family.
Because of this low turn-out this year, my wife plans on roasting a duck instead of a turkey. In addition we will have the usual honey baked ham, chicken macaroni salad, pancit noodles, green beans salad, sweet potato, and other filipino delicacies, and a 50th Birthday cake for my youngest son. My youngest son is single and will turn 50 this coming Thanksgiving day.
Time indeed flies and this year thanksgiving reminds me of our first Thanksgiving Celebration here in US in 1960. An excerpt of an article that I wrote in my blog on that day is as follows:
"It was November,1960 when Macrine and I and our oldest son, Dodie(who was only 2 years old then) experienced our first Thanksgiving Celebration in the United States. That year, I was a graduate student of the University of Illinois at the Medical Center in Chicago. The Chicago Hospitality Center along with YMCA and Christian Family Movement(CFM) invites all foreign students in the area to spend a thanksgiving weekend to the homes of volunteers in small towns of Illinois away from the crowded city of Chicago. Some of my foreign student friends were reluctant and did not accept the invitation, but I had an adventurous spirit so with great anticipation, Macrine and I along with Dodie went with 12 other foreign students and their families to Central Illinois.
Our host for that weekend was Mrs. Johnston, a widow from Danville, Illinois. She lives alone and her beautiful bungalow house right in downtown Danville. We left Chicago in the morning, had thanksgiving dinner ( turkey and all its trimmings)in late afternoon. This was followed by a program in the evening at a local community center, where all the hosts met and socialized with other invited students from Korea, Iran, Mexico, Japan, Chile, South Africa, Egypt and the Philippines.
The next day we had a grand tour of the area, the farms and then to Springfield, the capital city of Illinois. The tour of the area and Springfield was the highlight of our two days break from our hectic schedules as a graduate students.
So, did I like the roasted turkey? Nope, that was first time I had turkey. In the Philippines we do not celebrate Thanksgiving and I had never tasted turkey before. I did not like the pumpkin pie either. What I enjoyed was the oyster stuffing, vanilla ice cream and the cranberries sauce".
Today when my wife and I remember our first thanksgiving day in the US, it reminded me of the article I wrote for the CFM Newsletter that year as follows (excerpt only):
" As the first couple of CFM and Interfaith group in our diocese, we will do our very best to reciprocate, promote, and encourage hospitality programs to foreign students and scholars in our area. We believe that opening our homes and our hearts on weekends and holidays, is one of the best ways of promoting world peace and understanding. Let us then make it possible for foreign students and scholars get the true picture of America and its people. Let us give them the opportunity to share with us our way of life. Let us get busy as a group or perhaps join other groups in order that we can show to the future leaders of the world, how sincere, friendly and aware we are of other human beings in other parts of the world. This is one of the many ways we could be more Christlike, we believe".
This year I am thanking the Lord again for all the good things and for the past 52 years of our Thanksgiving Days here in US. The Lord has given me and my family so much good things here in US. To all my friends and relatives, May God bless you and your love ones this coming Thanksgiving Day!
Welcome to My Site
If this is your first visit, welcome! This site is devoted to my life experiences as a Filipino-American who immigrated from the Philippines to the United States in 1960. I came to the US as a graduate student when I was 26 years old. I am now in my early-80's and thanks God for his blessings, I have four successful and professional children and six grandchildren here in the US. My wife and I had been enjoying the snow bird lifestyle between US and Philippines after my retirement from USFDA in 2002. Please do not forget to read the latest national and International News in this site . I have also posted some of my favorite Filipino and American dishes and recipes in this site. Some of the photos and videos in this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing on your copyrights. Cheers!