Thanksgiving

32 cousins & a Thanksgiving for the Books

By Wendy Sobeck

I come from a very large Polish-American family. My maternal grandparents, Sylvester and Lucille, had 16 children, and my mom, Diane, was the fourth eldest. There are 32 of us cousins to date.

Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays—and pretty much any given Sunday—were never hum-drum little gatherings. They were usually epic family “dramadies,” special occasions I’m certain not even Hollywood could dream up! But, to us, the madness of our humongous family was just normal.

Many family holidays throughout my life have been unforgettable, but Thanksgiving 2001 was especially memorable and bittersweet.

Grandma Lucy

We had lost my Grandma Lucy suddenly to liver cancer in June of that year, and our enormous clan was devasted. As our family matriarch, she was the central force that kept the chaos of our beautifully crazy tribe together.

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Grandpa’s Car – a look into a Thanksgiving past … when we were total idiots

By Kandace Chapple & Kerry Winkler

Have we ever told you the story about the night we borrowed our Grandpa’s car? Yes, borrowed. We had permission to drive it. But we did not necessarily have permission to drive it where we did.

Let’s set the scene. We were in the U.P., age 16, in a house filled with relatives watching TV, and bored out of our minds on a post-Thanksgiving weekend, admiring our new driver’s license… with a Friday night burning outside.

Our cousin, 15, floated the idea. “Let’s borrow your dad’s car.”

“Absolutely not!” blew in from the next room.

But Grandpa Maddox, over our mothers’ protests, said this: “What’s gonna happen? Take my car, Twin. (To be safe, Grandpa called us both Twin.) Just don’t scratch it.”

We rushed outside before anyone could stop us, but once there, joy eluded us. We were going to have to cruise in a car we secretly called, “The Turd.” We decided we had no choice. There must be someone who would look past this shade of brown and zero in on the three beauties cruising the gut.

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