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A Cornucopia of Thanks for November, 2019

November 6, 2019


A Cornucopia of Thanks for November, 2019:


A Month of Gratitude


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



Keeping the WORDWALK tradition of sharing essays of gratitude on each of the four Wednesdays of November, I am eager to share with you some bundles of thanks that I have stuffed into my Thanksgiving cornucopia.  You are always welcome at my WORDWALK door to share your cornucopia of thanks.  While I certainly have not begun my Christmas shopping list, I have begun my 2019 Thanksgiving list.


How thankful I am for books and my book clubs!  For my book club which met on November 4, I read the immensely popular novel WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING, by Delia Owens (copyright 2018); my fellow book club members and I enjoyed an especially fine discussion of this book set in the marsh land of North Carolina.  The main character “Kya” (Catherine Danielle Clark), who only attended school one day in her life, did not learn to read until the age of fourteen.  After finally learning to read, she, who had lived alone on the marsh since age ten, got out the family Bible and was able to read there the full names of her siblings and parents–all of whom had already left Kya–and their birth dates–even her own birthday, which the young girl did not recall.


Reading this touching passage of the novel, I thought of how my mother put so many names, addresses, birth dates, wedding dates, and other important family happenings–not in our big white and gold Bible–but in an address book which my sister still has.  The brown book with gold lettering and a gold border has become a wonderful reference book about our family for my sister and me.  I could not begin to count the number of times I have called my sister in Colorado and asked her to check something in Mother’s address book.  While I knew my mother frequently used this address book, I never realized how much she put in the book would become the trunk and leaves of our family-tree information.  During this month of gratitude and coincidentally the month of my mother’s birth (November 25, 1914), I do thank my mother for all that she recorded in her address book.


For the Massa Family Reunion in 1995, at my sister’s home in Colorado, my Uncle Jules prepared a booklet of our family tree and distributed his work to the entire family.  Later, Volunteer Services for the Visually Handicapped–now Audio and Braille Literacy Enhancement, ABLE of Milwaukee–put this Massa family tree booklet into a lovely and cherished braille volume for me.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have pulled this spiral-bound volume from a very special spot on one of my book shelves to check a birth or wedding date. Born on June 18, 1926–my Uncle Jules put many hours of work into delving into and preserving our family history.  Each time I open this wonderful braille book, I think of and thank my Uncle Jules.


Besides these books, I also have some treasured cassette tapes onto which relatives have recorded their voices and stories about our family.  Listening to these remarkable recordings always brings a few tears to my eyes, but warms my heart and preserves our family history.  While I thank all who are no longer around our table, I also thank my Aunt Kathy with whom I texted a few times this morning and late this afternoon.  Her recorded recollections of growing up on the Massa farm, as well as our long telephone conversations, are precious to me.


Yes, I am so grateful for the family history which my family has; but I wish we had saved even much more.


What are you doing this Thanksgiving besides eating turkey?  Get those recorders rolling and preserve some family history after you eat a piece of pumpkin pie.  Take time to capture the moment and preserve the past of your family.  With photos, videos, recordings, and writings–you and your family are special–savor the moments for now, tomorrow,  and for future generations.  If I hear from you that you have done so this Thanksgiving, I will be very thankful.


November blessings,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


November 6, 2019, Wednesday




From → Uncategorized

  1. Dear Alice,
    When I read the invitation at the end of your blog, I had just finished making journal entries for three of my wonderful grandchildren. Since my first grandchild Emmy was born over nine years ago, I have kept a journal of each time we have been together—the most recent being this past Sunday when Emmy and the boys helped to decorate my classroom for Thanksgiving. I have kept journals for all of the five grandchildren with the hope that these records will be interesting and loving memories for all of them to enjoy when they are older. We are very thankful for all of the family history you have recorded so beautifully on your blog posts through the years! The posts are definitely among the family treasures!
    With love and appreciation,

  2. Carole permalink

    Alice, I am very grateful that you have created and maintained a blog to not only share and feature your cornucopia of talents, but to document and preserve family memories, traditions, and events for the present and future generations.

    Thanksgiving blessings to you, dear cousin!

  3. Sue McKendry permalink

    Alice–Thanks for setting the tone of this, the “Thanksgiving” month. I am also thankful for books and have collected way too many over the years. The ones that are not good friends are at least acquaintances nearby when I need them. I’m so happy you and Mary still have your mother’s address book and that you both share the desire to preserve and pass down your family history. I’m sure the future generations will appreciate the legacy they had will inherit. You are a good example for all of us.–Sue

  4. Katherine Binole permalink

    Alice, I am thankful for my niece who writes such detailed treasured family memories. When I read your blog, my mind goes back in time to relive beautiful memories.

    I am thankful for daily phone calls from my children. Alice, I so enjoy our long phone calls and being able to text everyone.

    A Happy Thanksgiving to you and Willow. Love, Aunt Kathy

    • Good morning, Aunt Kathy–On this snowy morning of Veterans’ Day, I am blessed to find this lovely comment from my aunt–the “little sister” of four amazing and beloved veterans of World War II. Many thanks for reading my blog and sharing your thoughts!

      With love and best wishes, Alice and Willow

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