I remember the year of 2 Thanksgivings


In the summer of 1939 I had whooping cough so bad my left lung collapsed.

It was decided to put me in the Edwin Shaw Sanitarium in my hometown of Akron, Ohio. No comments please, about it being called a sanitarium.

I was to have complete bed rest for six months and not get home until Christmas Day.

We all learned about the First Thanksgiving in school, so I shall not bore you.

Interestingly, the dates were shuffled around by various United States presidents until Abraham Lincoln set a date in stone in 1863.

He declared Thanksgiving Day to be the last Thursday in November. Calendars stuck to this and in the early to mid 1900s, important football games were scheduled for the last Thursday in November.

Well, it seems that in 1939 there were five Thursdays, and business owners appealed to then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt to change the official occasion to take place on the fourth Thursday. They wanted more days for folks to go Christmas shopping.

He complied in the middle of the year, sending football games, family vacations and calendar makers into a tizzy.

So much ruckus was caused by the general populace that both the fourth and the fifth Thursdays in November 1939 were observed.

And at Edwin Shaw Sanitarium we had a delicious turkey dinner on each of those Thursdays.

[Carolyn Cary is the official Fayette County historian and the editor of the county’s first compiled history, “The History of Fayette County,” published in 1977. She lives in Fayetteville.]