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November 2014
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The Thanksgiving Story You Haven’t Heard

LydiaMariaChild

“Over the River, and through the wood”

She published the iconic Thanksgiving poem, which has been set to music and learned by American school children for generations, in 1844. Lydia Maria Child actually made a decent living as a writer. Her manual called The Frugal Housewife, was particularly lucrative – but don’t be fooled by the title. Child was anything but a quiet little wife.

Born in 1802, she was an outspoken abolitionist; an ardent advocate for women’s and native American rights, and didn’t shy away from decrying a society dominated by white males in her novels. During what was called the “Indian Removal Crisis,” Child wrote a children’s book that would have shocked today’s ratings-obsessed parents. In it, a mother chats with her two daughters, outlining atrocities committed by Puritans against Native Americans.

The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day

By Lydia Maria Child

Over the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way,
To carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifted snow.

Moses

Catching the Turkey, Grandma Moses

Over the river, and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop
For doll or top,
For ‘t is Thanksgiving day.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes,
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood,
With a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark,
And children hark,
As we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To have a first-rate play —
Hear the bells ring
Ting a ling ding,
Hurra for Thanksgiving day!

thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Mother and Son Peeling Potatoes, Norman Rockwell

Over the river, and through the wood —
No matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get
The sleigh upset,
Into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,
To see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all,
And play snow-ball,
And stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Trot fast, my dapple grey!
Spring over the ground,
Like a hunting hound,
For ‘t is Thanksgiving day!

Turkey

Turkey with the Family, Pyotr Konchalovsky

Over the river, and through the wood,
And straight through the barn-yard gate;
We seem to go
Extremely slow,
It is so hard to wait.

Over the river, and through the wood,
Old Jowler hears our bells;
He shakes his pow,
With a loud bow wow,
And thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood —
When grandmother sees us come,
She will say, Oh dear,
The children are here,
Bring a pie for every one.

Over the river, and through the wood —
Now grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurra for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurra for the pumpkin pie!

WFMT Thanksgiving Specials

Thursday, November 27

Join WFMT for music and readings throughout the day to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. In the noon hour, hear Copland’s Appalachian Spring with the San Francisco Symphony conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. In the 2:00 pm hour, hear Music of the Pilgrims Arrival in the New World; First Thanksgiving; and The Earth Is Jehovah’s (Psalm 24) with baritone James Pease, and the New England Conservatory Choir.

Thanksgiving with Cantus at 6:00 pm

The popular chamber choir of male voices performs music for the holiday.

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