There’s a lot of grumbling that young people don’t know history like they should. If we’re honest, we must acknowledge an inherent problem to being young and learning history. The younger you are, the more there is to learn.
Curious, I asked five members of the youngest generation in our family (preschool through early elementary) for the story of the first Thanksgiving.
What follows is “The Nearly True Story of the First Thanksgiving.”
“The king said they weren’t allowed to worship God so the Pilgrims wanted to come to America where they could do what they wanted. They picked a ship called the Mayberry.”
“No, I think they came on the Mayflower.”
“It was a long trip. It took a year, maybe two. The kids played games on the ship, mostly soccer, but also some tic-tac-toe.”
“There was a captain on the ship and he had guiders who helped guide the ship.”
“The Pilgrim ladies wore blue dresses. They looked like Mary and Laura from Little House. The men wore blue shirts and jeans. Pilgrims were like pioneers.”
“Some of the people on the ship got sick and died. A baby was born on the ship. His name was Oceanus.”
“They sailed and sailed until someone said they saw land.”
“They landed at the Mayflower. There was a rock that said Mayflower right where they were landing.”
“They didn’t have much food and were very hungry.”
“They ate fish and probably berries out of the woods. The men went out to hunt deer and bears. I don’t think I would eat bear meat, unless I was super hungry. I bet I would if I was super hungry.”
“More Pilgrims died that winter. Maybe more than half. We think they had little pox. In one family, both the mom and dad died and one girl had to live alone. She only had herself.”
“Only two families survived without losing any family members. One of them was Oceanus’ family. None of the people in his family died.”
“In the spring, a couple of guys were hunting for food and they saw an Indian. He helped them learn how to plant and harvest and where the lakes were and how to weed and other good stuff and how to make fire.”
“And he helped them bury the fish in the ground.”
“When fall came, they wanted to celebrate and called it the First Thanksgiving. They were going to celebrate that they were alive, so they had a big feast.
“They had turkey and deer, potatoes and carrots, ham and chicken.”
“The Indians brought popcorn. Salted popcorn. The Pilgrims had never seen that before.”
“They played a lot of games. The moms might have knitted mats for checkers and cut wood from trees like checkers. Oh, and they might have carved chess sets, too.”
“Did you get the part about popcorn? Salted popcorn.”
“They played and ate and thanked God for letting the Indians be nice to them and they thanked that one special Indian for helping them learn their way.”
And there you have it – a composite account of the first Thanksgiving as told by the historians of tomorrow.