A is for Armistice Day : A is for Armistice Day Armistice Day is the anniversary of the official end of World War I, November 11, 1918. It commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning — the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month."
The date was a national holiday in many of the former allied nations to allow people to commemorate those members of the armed forces who were killed during war.
After World War II, it was changed to Veterans Day in the United States. “People took Armistice Day seriously back then, nineteen years after the end of the Great War.” (41) B is for Burgoo : B is for Burgoo It is believed that the word "burgoo" originated in the 17th century on the high seas. These sailors used to subsist on an oatmeal-like porridge made from the Middle-Eastern grain, bulgur wheat. The term first appears in the 1650 book "Adventures by Sea" by Edward Coxere.
1939 "Kentucky Burgoo" is the celebrated stew which is served in Kentucky on Derby Day, at Political Rallies, Horse Sales and other outdoor events. This recipe is from a hand written copy by Mr. J. T. Looney, of Lexington. Mr. Looney is Kentucky's most famous Burgoo-maker and it was for him that Mr. E. R. Bradley named his Kentucky Derby winner "Burgoo King".
600 pounds lean soup meat (no fat, no bones)
200 pounds fat hens
2000 pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
200 pounds of onions
5 bushels of cabbage, chopped
60 ten-pound cans of tomatoes
24 ten-pound cans puree of tomatoes
24 ten-pound cans of carrots
18 ten-pound cans of corn
Red pepper and salt to taste
Season with Worchestershire, Tabasco, or A#1 Sauce
Mix the ingredients, a little at a time, and cook outdoors in huge iron kettles over wood fires from 15 to 20 hours. Use squirrels in season... one dozen squirrels to each 100 gallons. This recipe makes 1200 gallons. “’Then why are we going?’ I asked, hopeless. ‘For the burgoo,’ Grandma explained. And I didn’t even ask.” (42) C is for Chicago : C is for Chicago Looking north on Michigan Boulevard, Chicago, postmarked 1937
This representation of Chicago from the 1930s prominently features the Wrigley Building (the first building across the bridge on the left, with the clock tower), one of the city’s most recognizable structures. The Wrigley Building is clad in terra cotta originally manufactured by the Northwestern Terra Cotta Company. “Mother was seeing me off at Dearborn Station in Chicago.” (1) D is for Diagram Sentences : D is for Diagram Sentences A sentence diagram is a pictorial representation of the grammatical structure of a natural-language sentence.
Most methods of diagramming are based on the work of Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg in their book Higher Lessons in English, first published in 1877, though the method has been updated with recent understanding of grammar. “Grandma sat at the other end of the table, nodding, while I tried to diagram some sentences.” (59) E is for Ebony : E is for Ebony Ebony is a brownish-black color described as black with a tinge of olive or brown.
It’s name comes from the blackish hard wood of an ebony tree native to tropical Asia. Only the center of the tree is used. Macasser ebony dresser “So I’d go out with Grandma to work her traps in the ebony and silver nights.” (64) F is for Fox : F is for Fox The red fox is mostly nocturnal, although it will sometimes venture out in the day. The red fox, unlike other mammals, hears low-frequency sounds very well. It can hear small animals digging underground and will frequently dig in the dirt or snow to catch prey. The fox stalks its prey, much like a cat. It gets as close as it can and then pounces and chases its prey. “It was a fox – red, though black in the moonlight.” (62) G is for Gooseberry : G is for Gooseberry A spiny European shrub (Ribes uva-crispa) having lobed leaves, greenish flowers, and edible greenish to yellow or red berries.
The fruit of this plant. “She was famous for her gooseberry pie.” (22) H is for Huckleberry : H is for Huckleberry Often confused with the blueberry due to its close resemblance, huckleberries are a wild blue-black berry.
Although very similar in taste, the big difference is the seeds within the huckleberry that give it a crunchy texture when fresh and its thicker skin.
The flavor is a little more tart than blueberries, with an intense blueberry flavor. “I’ll get a jar of my huckleberry jam out of the cellar for her. (16) I is for Isinglass : I is for Isinglass Isinglass or mica has an opaque blotchy, brownish-gold color and is an old-school electrical insulating material, also used as window material in wood-burning stoves. “A merry fire crackled behind the isinglass windows, and she was hanging a wreath in the bay. (67) J is for Jesus : J is for Jesus 30But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
Luke 1:30-33 NIV “Though Jesus was born in a stable, the school basement didn’t seem quite right.” (68) K is for Kate Smith : K is for Kate Smith Kate Smith, also known as the Songbird of the South, sang a definitive version of “God Bless America.”
When she hosted her own radio program, her song “When the Moon Comes over the Mountain” became a hit. “Kate Smith was a very big, very full-figured woman. She was as big as – Grandma.” (54) L is for Lane Bryant : L is for Lane Bryant In 1900, Lena Bryant founded Lane Bryant in New York as the first women’s apparel retailer in America devoted exclusively to plus-sizes. “Later, I caught her studying the catalogue from Lane Bryant: ‘Winter and Spring of 1938 Modes for the Fuller-Figured Woman.” M is for Mustache : M is for Mustache Hair on an upper lip that is often allowed to grow down the sides of the mouth.
Some common vernacular terms for the moustache are stache, tache, tash, pushbroom, soupstrainer, cookieduster, and mo. “It left her with a white mustache, and a little more of her authority slipped away.” (15) N is for Nativity Scene : N is for Nativity Scene A representation of the birth of Jesus Christ and events surround it. “There was to be a Nativity scene, and she assigned us parts.” (56-57) O is for Old-fashioned : O is for Old-fashioned typical of or belonging to a time in the past and no longer considered fashionable or suitable for the present “One morning we came to school to find a complete old-fashioned buggy up on the bell tower, swinging from an axle. (21) P is for Privy : P is for Privy This essential outbuilding (“outhouse”) was a tall, narrow structure, usually with a square footprint, and most often with a shed roof, though gabled roofs also were common. It was built over a pit where human waste was collected; when the pit filled, the privy was moved. Frame was the most common construction material.
Of course, the privy was sited at a distance from the house, usually in the back. A door in one side provided access, and sometimes there would be a vent or small window. The privy predates plumbing, so they survived on many farms well into the twentieth century. “On either side of the school was an outdoor privy.” (7) Q is for Queen Anne’s Lace : Q is for Queen Anne’s Lace Queen Anne's lace was introduced from Europe as a medicinal plant.
The vegetable carrot was bred from this plant. “She made me a nosegay bouquet to carry – lilies of the valley and Queen Anne’s lace from her yard, poked through a paper doily.” (130) R is for Recession of 1937 : R is for Recession of 1937 A period shorter than a depression during which there is a decline in economic trade and prosperity.
In looking for the reasons for the slowing and eventual end of the New Deal, few stand out as sharply as the 1937 recession, which lasted well into 1938. As a result of short money supply and cuts in federal programs that stemmed from a mild recovery in the mid-30s, the nation fell backwards economically in 1937. Despite increased spending on relief programs, FDR proved unable to renew the pre-recession level of confidence in his strategy for recovery within government or among the people. “The recession of thirty-seven had hit Grandma's town harder than it had hit Chicago.” (6) S is for Scrawny : S is for Scrawny Very thin: unpleasantly or unhealthily thin and bony. “Now she was grown but scrawny.” (5) T is for Tornado : T is for Tornado Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms. Spawned from powerful thunderstorms, tornadoes can cause fatalities and devastate a neighborhood in seconds.
A tornado appears as a rotating, funnel-shaped cloud that extends from a thunderstorm to the ground with whirling winds that can reach 300 miles per hour.
Damage paths can be in excess of one mile wide and 50 miles long. “I’d heard about tornadoes, but thought they happened somewhere else.” (117) U is for Undertaker : U is for Undertaker funeral director n. One whose business is to arrange for the burial or cremation of the dead and assist at the funeral rites and who is usually an embalmer. Also called mortician, undertaker. “’She’ll be next,’ said the undertaker’s wife.” (89) V is for Veteran : V is for Veteran somebody who has been a member of one of the armed forces for many years and has seen a great deal of active service “They were the American Legion, veterans of the Great War.” (43) W is for Walnut Hulls : W is for Walnut Hulls The hulls were the outer covering of the walnut.
Yarn was dyed by craftsmen who gathered wild plants like elderberries to produce a soft brown color. Walnut hulls were used for darker shades. “The walnut hulls were to disguise a human scent.” (62) X is for X-mas : X is for X-mas The word for Christmas in late Old English is Cristes Maesse, the Mass of Christ
It is an annul Christian Festival held on December 25 to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
Technically, the book spells out Christmas, but “X” words are difficult to come up with. “And every star above us was a Christmas star.” (74) Y is for Ya : Y is for Ya A pronoun meaning you or your, often associated with the south or rural populations. “’I’ll make ya welcome,’ Mildred rasped.” (12) YOU Z is for Zoo : Z is for Zoo a park where live wild animals from different parts of the world are kept in cages or enclosures for people to come and see, and where they are bred and studied by scientists “Draped and coiled all over her was the biggest snake I’ve ever seen outside the Brookfield Zoo.” (106)