Friday, October 19, 2012

Cherry Hill - Amanda's First Thanksgiving without Paul

October 16, 1947

Dear Mother,

I had to write because there is really no one I can to talk to and I feel I might practically burst if I don't get something off my chest.

You'll remember that I wrote about Val last month - how she continuously turns up at the school during lunch hour to spend time with Jack? Well this has continued and I, true to my word, have taken to eating my lunch in the teacher's lounge as far as I can get from Nurse Val and her brownies.

Frankly, it's a bit of a relief as my friendship with Jack comes with its fair share of complications - not the least of which, Mrs. Wilson's disapproving stare every time I mention something that has gone on at the school. She still holds the opinion that its unseemly for someone so recently widowed to be working, not to mention fraternizing with her son.

But that isn't why I'm writing.

As you know, last weekend was Thanksgiving and though I didn't have it in me to cook a big meal, I wanted to do something for the children. The school always makes such a to do over holidays and I just didn't have the heart to serve tuna casserole amidst all of the gay Autumn coloured paper turkeys the children have been bringing home.

My original plan was to hold a picnic in the living room after church on Sunday with just the children, but on Sunday morning it became evident the ladies of the auxiliary had other ideas. When word got out via an announcement Bobby made in Sunday school that we wouldn't be having a turkey this year, Marjorie Turner - who is not only the Sunday school teacher, she is Mrs. Wilson's best friend - took it upon herself to invite the three of us to her Thanksgiving dinner the next day.

Although I tried to beg off she wouldn't take no for an answer and I found myself on Monday evening surrounded by the Wilsons, Jack, Nurse Val, and Marjorie Turner's bachelor nephew Eugene who regaled me with information about his research on amphibians. In the meantime, Val kept watch over Jack like chicken hawk circling a nest and though our eyes met a few times over the course of the evening, we didn't have a chance to say more than one or two words to each other without Val swooping in or Eugene talking of natural habitats.

It makes me sad mother. Not only have I lost my husband (and I still have many questions as to what Nurse Val's involvement in all of that was) now I feel as though a really good friendship is also slipping away and it seems so unfair.

In the meantime, it was all I could do to extract myself from Eugene. I kept having to divert his attention back to the frogs because it soon became evident he was working up the nerve to ask me on a date and I'm just not ready for that. And even if I was, bless his heart, Eugene and I don't have that much in common.

Well, that's all the news for now.

I will leave you with a recipe from Marjorie. She made the most exquisite little pecan tarts for dessert.

Pecan Tartlets

  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash salt
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 325F.
  2. Combine cheese, 1/2 cup butter, and flour. Mix thoroughly and chill, covered, 1 hour.
  3. Divide into 24 small balls and press into sides and bottom of 2 ungreased minature muffin pans.
  4. Combine egg, brown sugar, vanilla, salt and remaining 1 tablespoon butter; beat until smooth.
  5. Sprinkle 1/3 cup pecans equally into 24 tart shells. Divide egg mixture equally among 24 tarts, pouring on top of pecans. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup pecans on top of tarts. 
  6.  Bake 20-25 minutes until pastry is golden brown.

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