I was 9. It was 1948. Thanksgiving was the one holiday my family celebrated. In the '40s, Thanksgiving in Bellmore was a much different affair than today. No football on TV.
My morning was reserved for "begging." I'd be up before dawn selecting my hobo outfit from the rag bag in the cellar. Out of the house by 9 a.m. you would find me running up and down the local streets calling out at each door. "Anything for Thanksgiving?" Exhausted, but hauling a supply of nuts, candy, fruit and the occasional coin, I'd fling myself onto the porch to check out my loot. It would be early afternoon, and since our dinner would be served around 4 or 5 p.m., there was plenty of time for puzzles, card games and checkers before stuffing myself with stuffing.
All that changed that November day in 1948. Mr. Kaplits, our neighbor, had purchased a television set; the first on our block. He invited the neighborhood kids to his home to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade. I had seen a television set in the window of Rands Radio Store. It was set up in the window and although you couldn't hear the sound, you could watch the flickering pictures. Now I had the chance to sit down in the Kaplitses' living room and watch and listen to this fantastic "radio with pictures."
I decided to forgo the begging and watched in amazement as the parade of floats and clowns passed Macy's in Manhattan. As soon as the show ended at noon, I ran home, changed into a hobo, grabbed a pillow case and got in a few hours of begging before dinner time.
This was a day to remember! I collected my goodies, saw my first television extravaganza and was treated to a goose dinner with my family. Truly a day to be thankful.
--Valerie Priger Skelly, Bellmore