This is the Schneider-Farris Family's Blog. Keep up with what we are doing by logging into this site regularly! (The reason this site is called "Tragedy and Triumph" is that when I first founded this site, my husband, Dan, had been in a horrible accident, and he recovered. His recovery was a miracle! Go back to the 2005 archives to read our story.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Remembering About Fifty Years of Thanksgivings

I was born in May of 1956, so in my lifetime, I've celebrated many, many Thanksgivings. I have decided to look back at some of the most memorable ones!  Enjoy this chronological journey through "Past Thanksgivings: with me!


1960s and 1970s  - When I was a child, most of my Thanksgivings were spent at my mom's brother's house; Thanksgiving and Aunt Miriam, Uncle Norman, and cousins Loren and Cheri, went hand in hand. Aunt Miriam's favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. They invited so many people every year, including my dad's parents and my Uncle Bobby.  Many of Miriam's cousins came to those gatherings too.

This was a combined Kadison-Schneider Thanksgiving in the 1960s
Cousing Cheri, Uncle Bobby, Cousin Loren, Grandma Fannie, Grandpa Max, Aunt Miriam, my brother Billy, my sister Lynnellen, my mom, my dad, me, and Grandma Esther

Anyway, when I was about 14 years old, Aunt Miriam heard about a new way of cooking the turkey. Everyone who attended suffered from food poisoning a day or so later!

1974 - My parents came from California to Colorado to spend Thanksgiving with me during my first year of training and skating at The Broadmoor.  A huge blizzard hit the state on Thanksgiving Day.  My brother Billy, who was training at CIA, a figure skating training center in Denver under Olympic figure skating coach Carlo Fassi, was supposed to come from Denver with Ron Shaver to celebrate dinner with us, but had to cancel due to weather. My parents and I decided we would still celebrate. We opened the oven to remove the turkey, and realized my mom had not turned on the oven. My dad started looking at Thanksgiving restaurant ads. We ended finally cooking that turkey, but eating very late.

1977 - I was a senior at Colorado College then. I remember eating at the Bemis dining hall with my friends Frank Langben and Elaine Emmer. Later, Elaine and I were invited to someone's house for dinner, but we didn't want to pass up the complimentary dining hall afternoon meal!

(In 2009, I  reconnected with Elaine, but I have lost touch with her again.  I am also overjoyed to be in touch with my friend Frank!  In 2012, after not seeing Frank since his wedding day in 1986, I finally saw Frank again face to face when I went to San Jose to the US National Figure Skating Championships!  In the summer of 2015, Frank was able to also reunite with my husband, Dan.)

1980 or 1981 - I won a grocery store certificate for $25 from Albertsons in Long Beach. Dan and I decided to use that money to make Thanksgiving in our "commune like home" and to invite people to spend the day with us who did not have a place to go or families. I will never forget how great an experience that was.

 - We spent many wonderful Thanksgivings with my Grandma Fannie and my sister Lynnellen and my Uncle Bobby when we lived in Long Beach. My dad had a heart attack and recovered in 1984, so our entire family was on a health kick. I cooked everything from scratch, used no fat, took out the eggs yolks from the pies, and made health food stuffing. It was a delicious meal.

Thanksgiving Day 1986 (Lynnellen pregant with Drew, me, Grandma Fannie, and my Uncle Bobby)

1986 - My sister Lynnellen was pregnant with her first child, Drew. We invited one of my dad's favorite medical students to spend Thanksgiving with us at my Grandma Fannie's house.

1989 - We lived in San Francisco then. I think the fun Thanksgiving at Lori Baron's flat in San Francisco took place that year. I took an amusing video from that Thanksgiving. Someday, I'll get that video up on YouTube. I especially remember when David Mishkin interviewed Terry Korotkin with a banana!

1991 - Dan and I had just arrived in Colorado. Billy's inlaws, the Sutherlands, invited us to their house in Denver. We spent several holidays at the Sutherlands during Billy's early days of marriage.

 - We went to Breckenridge, Colorado with my friend Larisa Gendernalik and her son, Alex. We rented a condo together. We ate dinner at a fancy buffet in Breckenridge. I wondered why I didn't feel like eating. The next morning, I took a pregnancy test and found out I was pregnant. Dan and I went cross country skiing and ice skating that day. Annabelle was born 8 months or so later! Joel and Rebekah's first skiing took place at Kinderhut in Breckenridge.

2005 - Dan had just come home from the hospital after being in a horrible accident that almost took him away from us. Just before Thanksgiving Day, he had been rushed back to the hospital. We thought he'd have to spend it there, but he got to come home. My parents came and we had a wonderful time together as a family. Dan's brother Mike was also there.

The next day, we took Dan to the YMCA so he could take a shower since his wheelchair wouldn't fit in our bathroom. Afterwards, we went to my friend Larisa Gendernalik's house for another Thanksgiving dinner since her family decided to celebrate together on Friday instead of Thursday. That was one of the last times we saw Larisa's daughter, Valerie. (Valerie was murdered during Memorial Day Weekend 2008.)

2007 - Since we had to leave for Junior Nationals only two days after Thanksgiving, we spent a quiet Thanksgiving together as a family. The kids even skated at Colorado College on Thanksgiving morning. The kids really enjoyed that Thanksgiving since they could be themselves. Each kid especially enjoyed the whipped cream!

2008 - My brother and his wife Amy invited us to our family's vacation home in Larkspur for a huge family Thanksgiving celebration. It was so very special. Everything was beautiful!

2009 - Before Thanksgiving 2009, Haley Rose Gans, on November 20, 2015, a 14 year old figure skater was tragically killed in a skiing accident in Breckenridge, Colorado.  My children skated with Haley every day at the Ice Hall at The Broadmoor World Arena, so Haley's death affected us so, so much.  Figure skaters and coaches and skating families and others that loved Haley came together for Haley's funeral on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day.  On Thanksgiving Day, I remember crying as we ate, but also giving my children and husband extra hugs.

Haley Rose Gans Was Killed in a Skiing Accident Just Before Thanksgiving 2009

2010 - We spent our Thanksgiving at the Schneider family vacation home in Colorado. We invited Hellene, Jeff, Sam, and Leo Orenstein-Anderson. They joined us for a wonderful overnight and "Rugrats type Thankgiving" experience.

I was thankful that my family had such a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. I was thankful that we had one another and that we had so many family and friends that have been there for us through thick and thin. I remember Sam's grandpa, Leo, said how thankful he was to have Sam in his life!

2011 - Thanksgiving 2011 was especially fun since we were invited to my friend Bernice's house in eastern Colorado.  The Davis family lived out in the country and before dinner, I was able to go outside to see the chickens Bernice raised.  Bernice said she never has been able to cook turkey, so she made ravioli instead!  Annabelle especially enjoyed eating Bernice's homemade sopapillas!  After dinner, my three kids played Kinect games with Bernice's six kids!

My Friend Bernice's Daughter Chava Made Pear Turkeys for Thanksgiving 2011

(On our drive home, my friend Lynn Wein McCoy, texted me and told me that Holly Meyer died of ALS /Lou Gehrig's disease on Thanksgiving eve.  As we drove home, I remembered Holly.)

2013 - After the 2013 Pacific Coast Figure Skating Championships which took place in Oakland, California, Annabelle, Joel, my dad, and I, flew to southern California and Dan and Rebekah connected with us there in Long Beach.  (They flew in from Denver the Sunday before).  Dan had to fly back to Colorado on Thanksgiving Day since he did not have the Friday after Thanksgiving off from work, so on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving I made a dinner for Dan's mom, sister Sandy, brother Mike, my dad, Dan, Rebekah, Joel, and Annabelle at our family's Long Beach Naples condo.  It also was a special Thanksgiving since that Wednesday night was the first night of Hannukah.  We lit the menorah that night too.

My husband, Dan, With His Sister Sandy and Mom - Thanksgivikuh Eve 2013

The next day, we celebrated Thanksgiving again at my sister, Lynnellen's house.  All three of Lynnellen's children were there and also her four grandchildren!  It was a "wild house" with a long table set up in the living room of what once was my Grandma Fannie's house.

2014 - On Thanksgiving eve, my distant cousin, Josh Willow, and his wife and daughter came to the Schneider family vacation home in Colorado.  I remember making spaghetti and trying to not let Josh know that I was coming down with a cold.  Josh brought many photos of our extended family and we especially enjoyed seeing photos of his grandfather Max and father Jack.

My Cousin Josh Willow and His Family Visited Us on Thanksgiving Eve 2014

On Thanksgiving Day 2014, my friend Bernice and the six Davis kids came to enjoy Thanksgiving Day with us.  I wasn't feeling well, and didn't notice until it was too late, that my husband only cooked the turkey for 30 minutes!  Anyway...after waiting about another hour and half for the turkey to cook, we sat down in the Schneider family vacation home's dining room and ate a lot of side dishes and dessert and had a wonderful time without any turkey...

Dan talked to Joel (who was away on the Disney On Ice Frozen Tour) While We Were Eating Our Thanksgiving 2014 Meal!

2015 - Thanksgiving 2015 hasn't happened yet, but from November 8 to November 14, 2015, my dad and I went to Seattle to see my son Joel when the Disney On Ice Frozen tour was there, and we coordinated it with seeing my cousin Cheri and her family.  Cheri decided, in honor of our visit to make a Thanksgiving dinner!  It was so fun to Joel to be inside a home and for all of us to be together as a family and remember the past Thanksgivings my dad and I had spent with Cheri and her brother and my mom and my mom's brother Norman with my Aunt Miriam.  It was especially nice for Joel to get to know his little cousin Lexi!

Joel and Cousin Lexi - November 10, 2015 - Early Thanksgiving Dinner at My Cousin Cheri's House in Seattle!

As I write this, I'm excited with my family's plans to spend Thanksgiving Day 2015 with my dear friend Hellene Anderson and her father Leo, and with Gary, Karen, and Sabrina Cohen, and my husband, my dad, and my sweet daughter Annabelle.  We will miss my two other children.  Joel won't be celebrating Thanksgiving I think since the Disney On Ice Frozen show is in Vancouver, Canada on Thanksgiving Day 2015 and Rebekah has moved to southern California, but I know she'll have a nice Thanksgiving Day with my husband, Dan's family.

Happy Thanksgiving 2015 Everyone!  Happy Thanksgiving Hurray, Hurray, Hurray!

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Jo Ann Schneider Farris has participated in skating for most of her life as a competitor, coach, and author.