Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving 2008 to all.

I remember Thanksgiving holidays when I was a child. We used to dress up in old raggedy clothes and go around and beg, "Anything for Thanksgiving."

At that time, the Halloween custom of making the rounds asking for candies and other treats did not exist, at least in Queens and Brooklyn, where we grew up.

There is a letter to the editor in today's The New York Times by George H. La Porte 3rd on this very practice of Thanksgiving begging.

Writes La Porte:

"My brother and I were Thanksgiving "ragamuffins" in what is now called the Midwood section of Brooklyn -- we called it simply Flatbush then -- beginning in the early 1930's and continuing until our personal vanity led us to retire. We were "too big" to appear in public in the guise of urchins.

"We had it on excellent authority -- our parents' -- that Thanksgiving begging dated to well before World War I. They had, in fact, participated themselves in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn.

"Halloween activity was confined to the "tricks" and Thanksgiving to the "treats" before the conflation when, instead of two autumn opportunities to taunt our neighbors, we were left with only one, Halloween, which soon was appropriated by the adult establishment for its own aims.

"Based upon our first-hand information, we believe the custom of Thanksgiving begging started not later than the beginning of the century, at least in Brooklyn, where most good things began anyway."

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