A Look Back in Time: Thanksgiving Edition

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Westminster Presbyterian Church in Chehalis hosted 18 international exchange students for Thanksgiving, according to the Friday, Nov. 23, 1962 edition of The Chronicle. Represented among the group were students from Scotland, Honduras, India, Turkey, South Africa and Egypt. 

“For the first time, foreign students from Scotland and British Honduras are represented in the 18-student delegation in Chehalis on ‘operation Goodwill,’ sponsored by the young people of the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Chehalis,” The Chronicle reported. 

For Thanksgiving the students attended a service at the church, watched the football game between W.F. West and Centralia high schools and had Thanksgiving dinner at some of the local family homes. On Friday, the group had visited a chicken farm in the morning and were expected to visit a Weyerhaeuser mill in the afternoon. 

“Friday night the public is invited to attend a special foreign student program in the social rooms of the Westminster Presbyterian Church. Dr. Wayne Smith will be master of ceremonies,” The Chronicle reported. 

The foreign student program was to feature a “welcome talk” by Kitty Smith, the president of the Senior High Youth Fellowship.

According to The Chronicle, members of the fellowship had spent the past month working hard in “odd jobs” raising money to bring the international students for what was the event’s 10th year. 

 

Thanksgiving 1932

• An Associated Press article included in The Chronicle the day before Thanksgiving on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 1932, described the beginnings of the Thanksgiving holiday. “It was (Sara Hale) who made the last Thursday in November the annual red letter day in the national calendar,” The Associated Press said. “Time has wrought many changes in Thanksgiving Day since Governor Bradford called for public praise to God after the first harvest in Plymouth colony in 1621. President Washington recommended Thursday, Nov. 26, 1789, as a day of acknowledgement of ‘the many and signal favors of Almighty God, but the custom was not followed up every year.”

• On Wednesday, Nov. 23, a story in The Chronicle described Centralia’s preparations for Thanksgiving the next day. “Tomorrow, Thanksgiving day, will be observed in Centralia as a holiday, stores and public offices being closed all day. The Daily Chronicle will not be published,” The Chronicle reported. According to The Chronicle, there was to be a Thanksgiving church service open to all denominations at the Seventh-Day Adventist Church with Rev. Samuel Linge, the pastor at Centralia’s Nazarene Church, delivering the sermon. Centralians going to the service were encouraged to bring food, clothes and other items for distribution to families in need. The Centralia High School Girls’ League had also reportedly organized a Thanksgiving dinner for 50 families in need.

• An editorial was included in the Wednesday, Nov. 23, edition of The Chronicle asking readers to reflect on Thanksgiving. The editorial further asked readers to remember all the people who had lost their jobs during the ongoing Great Depression. “So many people … have lost their jobs,” the editorial said, later hoping the ongoing economic “nightmare” would pass away.

• An editorial by a man named Bruce Catton was included in the Wednesday, Nov. 23, edition of The Chronicle titled “Much To Be Thankful For.” Catton discussed being thankful during a time of economic suffering. “The eve of winter in a land which has something like 10,000,000 wage earners who have been separated from wages and jobs may seem a queer time and place for a day of Thanksgiving. But we have been indulging, as a nation, in a dour kind of pessimism for a long time now and there is little danger that we shall underestimate the real seriousness of our plight; our chief danger, indeed is that we may fail to realize what very good reasons we still have for continuing to celebrate this holiday which the Pilgrim fathers established for us,” Catton said. “Indeed, when you stop to think about it, they didn’t seem to have much to be thankful for either.” Catton went on to discuss the hardships faced by the Pilgrims at the Plymouth Colony before pointing to a brighter future. “After all — who doubts there are great, golden years ahead of us? Our situation today could be infinitely worse; but by this time we are able to say confidently that it will not be … So tomorrow let us have our day of Thanksgiving.”

• A close game was expected between the football teams of Chehalis and Centralia high schools on their annual Thanksgiving Day game, according to The Chronicle on Wednesday, Nov. 23. The game was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. in Chehalis. Up to that point Chehalis had played seven games, winning five and tying two, while Centralia had played nine games, winning four, tying two and losing three. The game was to be the 26th time the two teams played against each other. In the previous 25 games, Chehalis had won 14 to Centralia’s eight. Three games had ended in a tie. 

• In the Friday, Nov. 25, 1932, edition of The Chronicle, it was reported the Chehalis Bearcats had beaten the Centralia Tigers 6-0 in the annual football game between Chehalis and Centralia high schools on Thanksgiving. “The Centralia and Chehalis high school football teams tangled yesterday on Millett field in Chehalis. … And when the smoke of battle had cleared away Chehalis was on the long end of a 6 to 0 score,” The Chronicle reported. The win tied Chehalis High School, now known as W.F. West High School, with Hoquiam for the Southwest Washington Conference championship. According to The Chronicle, the only touchdown of the game came during the first play of the fourth quarter when a player named Koehle ran the football from the one yard line. 

• Prisoners in the Lewis County Jail were given Thanksgiving dinners, The Chronicle reported. “Even the prisoners in the Lewis County Jail had something to be thankful for yesterday, according to a letter of gratitude presented by the inmates to County Jailer W.C. Walters this morning. The letter expressed thanks for the Thanksgiving dinner served to the prisoners yesterday by Mr. and Mrs. Walters. … The letter of gratitude, signed by the 16 men and one woman who are in jail at present … read as follows: ‘We, the inmates of the county jail, wish to show our appreciation and thankfulness for the very enjoyable Thanksgiving dinner which you have bestowed upon us,” The Chronicle reported. 

 

Thanksgiving 1942

• In its Wednesday, Nov. 25, 1942 edition, The Chronicle looked ahead to the “Twin Cities’ annual Thanksgiving Day “gridiron classic” football game between the Chehalis and Centralia high schools. Described as “35 years old but still a year-after-year autumn thriller for Centralia and Chehalis,” the football game was scheduled for noon at Chehalis’ Cascade Field. The Chronicle reported Centralia was favored to win the game but cautioned “the outcome of the annual Turkey Day struggle is no more predictable than have been those in past years.” 

• The Chronicle featured the scores of all the football games between Chehalis and Centralia high schools going back to their first match in 1907. In the first two games, in 1907 and 1908, Centralia had beaten Chehalis 11-0 and 57-0, respectively. Only one game was played between the two teams each year with the exception of 1913, 1914, 1915 and 1916, when two games were played. No games were reported in 1909, 1910 or 1911 for unclear reasons or in 1917 or 1918, likely because of U.S. involvement in World War I. 

• The lineups for the Chehalis and Centralia football teams were included in The Chronicle for the Thanksgiving Day game between the two teams. The players for the Chehalis High School team were Chuck Stevenson, Larry Murray, Ted Dethlefs, Milt Noyes, Jim Deskins, Don Rosbach, Clarence Rayton, Bob Quick, Bus Gunsolley, Floyd Duell and Tom Venard. The players for the Centralia High School team were Sam Forrester, Bob Rycroft, Ben Dysart, Jack Wheeler, J.W. Thompson, Andy Kreps, Al Roberts, Joe Noble, Bob Howard, Lyle Nordlund and Jim Hatfield. 

• A Thanksgiving prayer was included in The Chronicle on Wednesday, Nov. 25, ahead of Thanksgiving. The prayer alluded to the ongoing fighting in World War II. “God of our fathers, at this Thanksgiving time we thank thee for these United States. We thank thee that thou hast seen fit to make us strong, that we may combat our enemies. We thank thee for the young men with which thou hast graciously endowed our nation. Were it not for them, our lands, our farms, our cities would now be barren wastes as are the captured lands of China,” the prayer said. 

• The Chronicle reported the members of the Chehalis High School football team and its coaches were to be the guests of the Chehalis Chamber of Commerce at its weekly luncheon on Monday, Nov. 30, following their football game on Thanksgiving. The luncheon was to be held at the St. Helens Hotel with superintendent J.D. Glann in charge of the program. 



• The “abundant” celebrations in the Twin Cities gave “no sign” the country was at war, according to a story in the Friday, Nov. 27 edition of The Chronicle. The story, which came the day after Thanksgiving, said there was “probably more spirit of Thanksgiving than had been apparent in years” in the Twin Cities. The Chronicle noted the changes in family size at Thanksgiving dinners due to the changes in life from the war. “Families who gathered at feasting tables were both larger and smaller than usual. Reduced wartime transportation kept many from traditional pilgrimages ‘to grandmother’s house,’ thus making far more family dinners at home. At the same time, those families annually hosts to relatives from far distances found their dining room uncrowded,” The Chronicle reported. 

• The Chronicle reported the Centralia Tigers had beaten the Chehalis Bearcats in their annual Thanksgiving football game. The story, included in The Chronicle’s Friday, Nov. 27, edition, reported “through a constant downpour that made a quagmire of the Cascade field turf, the Chehalis High School Bearcats and the Centralia Tigers pushed and shoved each other around for 60 minutes of football in their annual Thanksgiving day game, and the Tigers emerged from the muck victorious by a score of 7 to 0.” The game’s one touchdown was scored in the middle of the third quarter. “The heavy weather and the slippery field made the game slow and uninteresting, and there were no spectacular fireworks which usually mark the annual grid contest between the schools of the Twin Cities,” The Chronicle reported. 

 

Thanksgiving 1952

• A story in the Wednesday, Nov. 26, 1952 edition of The Chronicle reported the Twin Cities were busy preparing for Thanksgiving the next day. “As on the first Thanksgiving 331 years ago at Plymouth, Massachusetts, worship services and turkey dinners were to be the highlights of the day at many homes,” The Chronicle reported. “An added feature for the Twin Cities the Pilgrims did not have will be the annual prep football games starting at noon in Chehalis.” The story went on to mention the interdenominational church services that were to be held in both Chehalis and Centralia. It was further reported sunshine was expected for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

• A large picture was included on the front page of The Chronicle’s Nov. 26 edition. The picture showed a boy and girl watching with their hands folded at a table as an adult carved a turkey. “In Lewis County and over the nation tomorrow, Americans have much for which to be thankful. The traditional carving of the turkey, as above, should not go without prayer and remembrance of the brave band of Pilgrims who made our Thanksgiving day of 1952 possible. And, just as the Pilgrims prayed, today’s prayers should ask that America and its leadership keep the priceless tradition of courage given in the year 1620,” The Chronicle’s caption stated. 

• The Chronicle included a special section in its Nov. 26 edition announcing the plans of different families for the next day’s Thanksgiving holiday. “Family reunions, out-of-town guests and bountiful meals are upmost in the minds of nearly every American as the most heartwarming holiday of the year approaches. … Many Chehalis residents are readying for guests or planning to leave town to be guests of friends or relatives,” The Chronicle reported before listing the plans of many families. 

• The Chronicle included the results from past football games between the Chehalis and Centralia high schools dating back to their first game in 1907. In the 10 games before the 1952 game, Centralia had won five, Chehalis had won four and there had been one tie. 

• The Chronicle reported the annual Thanksgiving football game between the Chehalis and Centralia high school football teams was scheduled to begin at noon the next day. The game was to take place at Chehalis’ Cascade Field. The game was to be the 46th match between the two schools. “A few reserve seat tickets were still available Wednesday — one at the Chamber of Commerce office in Centralia and about 25 at the high school in Chehalis,” The Chronicle reported. “The gates for the game will open at 10:45 a.m. Thanksgiving. … As is traditional, Coaches Rod Giske of Chehalis and Ralph Morris have named all-senior starting lineups.”

• In its Friday, Nov. 28 edition, The Chronicle reported on the Thanksgiving activities in the Twin Cities the day before. “Tables were laden with good things to eat in hundreds of Twin City and Lewis County homes Thursday, in celebration of one of the nation’s oldest and most traditional holidays — Thanksgiving. … The sun cooperated for the holiday, breaking through the overcast before noon and shining down brightly from blue skies the rest of the day. But it generated little warmth, the air remaining chilly with the temperature going only to 43 degrees,” The Chronicle reported. The Chronicle mentioned the annual interdenominational church services that drew “good crowds of worshippers” on Thanksgiving. 

• The Chronicle reported on Nov. 28 Centralia High School had managed to pull off a narrow win over Chehalis High School in their annual Thanksgiving game the day prior. “The Tiger and the Bearcats tore into each other at noon on Thanksgiving Day, and for the next two hours put on a football production that had all the thrills that have come to be expected in this long grid rivalry,” The Chronicle reported. “Centralia came out on top in the 45th meeting between the Tigers and Chehalis, winning by a 20-14 score. But by the end of the game, the Tiger had earned a healthy respect for his neighboring Bearcat. Both teams played downright rock-bottom, sock-’em football. Every inch that was gained had to be done through or over a determined team of players that was hitting hard, and that went for both teams.” The game was marked by a clear, sunny sky but the air remained at 40 degrees for the game. “Probably the chilliest at the game were the six scantily-dressed Chehalis majorettes and 15 flag twirlers who performed with the band in pre-game and half-time entertainment,” The Chronicle reported. 

 

Thanksgiving 1962

• “Family gatherings, traditional church rites of Thanksgiving and the annual Chehalis-Centralia high school football collision” were to be the features of the Twin Cities’ 1962 Thanksgiving, The Chronicle reported on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 1962. The annual interdenominational church service in Chehalis was to take place at 10 a.m. in Chehalis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church with Rev. C. Douglas Honeyford of the First Baptist Church scheduled to give the sermon. Centralia’s service was to take place at 9:30 a.m. in the Church of the Nazarene with Rev. L.D. Gordon of Centralia’s Free Methodist Church scheduled to give the sermon. 

• The Chronicle featured a special section announcing the plans of different Lewis County families for the Thanksgiving holiday the next day. One of the families mentioned was the Smith family, whose son Orin Smith was returning home from the University of Washington for the holiday. “Orin Smith, who is attending the University of Washington, will be home for Thanksgiving, with his parents ‘Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Smith’ in Chehalis,” The Chronicle reported. Smith would go on to Harvard Business School and would become the CEO of Starbucks. He passed away from cancer in 2018. Chehalis’ Orin C. Smith Elementary School is named after him. 

• The Chronicle featured a story in its Nov. 21 edition about the next day’s annual Thanksgiving football game between the Chehalis and Centralia high schools. “Coach Rod Giske said Wednesday that the ‘Cats have worked steadily during the past week despite the heavy rain that has fallen. ‘We worked inside only one day, Monday, but the rest of the time we have practiced hard. It’s going to be a wet field Thursday and we wanted to get as much practice as we could under real conditions,” Giske told The Chronicle. According to The Chronicle, only one W.F. West team member was currently injured, a relief from a problem that had apparently plagued the team during the 1962 season. 

• A full page ad was included in the Nov. 21 edition of The Chronicle supporting the Chehalis High School Bearcats in their football game the next day. “A THANKSGIVING TRADITION… IT’S THE “BIG GAME” OF THE YEAR,” the ad stated. The ad urged readers to watch the Bearcats “GIVE THE AXE To The Tigers!” The ad featured a picture of the Bearcat football team.

• A second full page ad was included in The Chronicle’s Nov. 21 edition supporting the Centralia Tigers. “GO! Tigers,” the ad stated, urging people to come watch. The ad featured a picture of the Tiger football team as well as the roster of the players on Centralia’s varsity team. 

• The Friday, Nov. 23, 1962 edition of The Chronicle reported floodwaters had fallen quickly after heavy rains in the area. “Now you see it, now you don’t, might be a description of the flood situation in Lewis County,” said a photo description on the front page of The Chronicle. The phot showed mild flooding near Jackson Highway between Chehalis and Centralia. 

• The Chronicle reported on Friday, Nov. 23 that Centralia High School beat W.F. West in their annual Thanksgiving football game. The score was 20 to 12. “The spunky Chehalis Bearcats refused to buckle under after being faced with a two-touchdown handicap quickly in the first period. Coach Rod Giske’s’ preps came bouncing back to dominate the second half. However, they were unable to overtake the cross-town rivals,” The Chronicle reported.