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The earliest Thanksgiving I can remember is around age six when my family and I went to my grandmother’s friend, April’s, house. Why do I remember it so well you may wonder? Well, for a good two hours my sister, Ashley, and I were locked in a closet by April’s grandson. With all of the parents busy in the kitchen, they assumed the kids were “playing nicely”. Two hours later they realized something was wrong. We never went back to April’s house after that Thanksgiving day.

For the next five years, at least the years I was with my mom, we went to my grandmother’s home in Milwaukee, WI. I would sit on the couch and observe my grandmother, a pastry chef, multitask between baking various desserts. The kitchen filled with the smells of pecan, pumpkin, and apple pie, followed by apple, cranberry and caramel cake. The ratio of desserts to actual food was always higher. 

At age 12, my family started to go down to Vero Beach, FL for the holiday. As we did not know any other families at the time, we had our first Thanksgiving in a restaurant. While the food was delicious, I missed the chaos of Thanksgiving in my family’s kitchen. I missed my grandmother telling my mother the turkey was cooking too fast or the pumpkin pie crust is seizing in the oven (whatever that means). I missed my sister trying to help my mom peel potatoes and almost cutting herself.

Luckily, two short years later we began the tradition we now practice today. At my Thanksgiving celebration, there are three families: the Monacos, the Grimstads, and my family. Mr. Monaco makes the turkey, stuffing, and gravy. Mrs. Grimstad makes the sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. Jamie Grimstad makes chocolate pecan pie. My family makes mashed potatoes, pumpkin and apple pie, and green beans. 

While the places and the people we have celebrated Thanksgiving with have changed, one thing has remained the same. Each year every person at the table stands up and gives a short speech about what they are thankful for. My responses have varied from “I’m thankful to be out of the closet” to “I’m thankful to be part of the Wake Forest community”.  

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Even though the circumstances, the location, and the people we celebrate with may change, my family — and of course, the food — are always present.

Chandler Stearns

Wake Forest '22

My name is Chandler Stearns and I am a current sophomore from Chicago, IL (GO CUBS). I plan on majoring in Communications with a double minor in English and Entrepreneurship. My favorite things are laughing until I'm crying and dancing until I make a complete fool of myself.
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