Thanksgiving - the family gathering - now you know how wars get started.

It’s November 1969 – You’re A Teenager – You Live In L.A. – But It’s A Motor City Thanksgiving – It’s Family – You Can’t Explain It.

Thanksgiving – the family gathering – now you know how wars get started.

CKLW – November 14, 1969 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Yep. Thanksgiving. Last time you saw these people you weren’t in school yet. But you got on a plane with your parents and flew to Detroit for the holiday. They were talking about it all year. You had no choice in the matter but you would have voted to go if you did. You have cousins – lots of cousins. Your mom and dad come from enormous families – it was decided you would all meet at one place, at one time; gathering of the tribes.

Looked good on paper and it was mostly fun. It was promising to be a very big deal – they even considered renting an Elks Lodge meeting hall to cram everyone in. Your Aunts nixed the idea and you wound up having Thanksgiving dinner at the aunt’s with the biggest house. You forgot all about basements – and you quickly realized everybody on your dad’s side drank like fish.

You also forgot that, even though you’re related, maybe half of you have the same last name as your dad or mom before she got married, and maybe you sort of resemble each other – but that was about it.

You’re from L.A. – you live in a different world – people speak differently – you think differently and you act differently. You didn’t know that – how could you; you were five when you left. Somewhere you remember hearing someone say the two things you don’t talk about at family gatherings, especially Thanksgiving; Religion and Politics. Religion you sort of got – and you kept your mouth shut when everybody grabbed hands and said grace over the spread. You only rolled your eyes and that was met with a dagger-face across the table. The clincher came when someone made a drunken joke and Colonel Sanders having a special sale on Left wings and assholes and your best Campus Radical leapt out of the closet, triggering World War 3.

It quickly became evident you were in the minority, as your parents kept kicking you under the table, with eyes pleading for you to shut up, while the rest of the Aunts, Uncles and Cousins climbed all over you like Lord Of The Flies. You didn’t even make it to stuffing.

In retrospect you should have paid attention when going on the fifty-cent tour of your Aunt’s with the biggest house, that the living room had portraits of Jesus Christ, John Birch and Richard Nixon on the wall. That was a tip-off you missed.

The only saving grace were a few of the “cool cousins” who were passing joints behind the garage and asked you to stay with them, since you were the one who almost single-handedly wrecked Thanksgiving and were persona non-grata until you flew back to L.A. on Sunday.

Always gonna be that way. No matter how weird families get there’s always at least a few you can relate to. Every family has at least one or two – the more you find the luckier you are. Weird days; 1969.

Less weird with CKLW on the radio – further evidence the cool cousins had good taste.

And to go along with the holiday season and heading in the direction of Thanksgiving, here’s a half hour of CKLW from November 14, 1969.


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