By Dale McGarrigle
There’s more than one way to capture the spirit of Thanksgiving, as the front page of the Nov. 24, 1960, Bangor Daily News made abundantly clear.
There’s the literal history, as depicted in a photo just below the banner of the decorations of the William Kane family of 30 Elm St. in Bangor.
In the photo by longtime BDN photographer Carroll Hall, Mrs. Kane and her children, John, 4, and Martha, 3, peer down at tiny Pilgrim figures filing into worship service, watched by friendly Indians, with the Mayflower in the background.
But Thanksgiving is also a time for family, as revealed in an article about the first meeting of a 7-year-old Howland boy and a Boston registered male nurse who had “unofficially adopted” the youth as a “brother” nearly two years before.
In the article, Darrell F. Clark wrote, “Clyde Melvin McKinnon, the boy, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Vaughn McKinnon, and sisters Helen, Kathy June and Lorelai, greeted Philip S. Mann, the male nurse, as he stepped off an airliner at Northeast Airlines Terminal in Bangor. Mann was Clyde’s guest for Thanksgiving Day and night.
“Mann first heard of Clyde in January 1959 through an item in the column of a Boston newspaper, submitted by Yvette Milbury of Milton, Mass., a distant relative on Mrs. Milton’s side of the family — and incidentally a relative they had never met.
“At the time, Clyde was confined to his home with a hip and muscle disease, which a doctor could not definitely diagnose. The newspaper item requested that readers send cards and letters to the youth.
“Mann, a registered male nurse for 35 years, immediately mailed a card and a few gifts adequate for a boy confined to bed, such as puzzles and books. Since then, he has written regularly to Clyde and the family and sends cards and gifts to Clyde on holidays and special occasions. But they really aren’t gifts, Mann explained. ‘They are incentives for good behavior and fine school grades, which his mother writes me about.’
“Mann related, ‘While in training, I took care of lots of little boys and girls. I loved the work and I loved them. I enjoy making them happy.’ And that’s just what he did Thanksgiving Day for the McKinnon children and the neighborhood children — he made them all very happy by reading to them, helping them put puzzles together and telling them jokes.”
The paper also offered holiday recipes by the woman who was synonymous with cooking in BDN’s territory, Mildred “Brownie” Schrumpf, the paper’s recipe columnist for decades.
On the menu that year were Cranberry Bread, Creole Shrimp Ring, Date and Nut Bread, Turkey Jambalaya and Raisin Filling.
That same week in 1960, one of the state’s biggest celebrities, U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, went for a different type of holiday dining.
Smith’s car was rear-ended by a construction truck on the afternoon of Nov. 21, yet the shaken senator soldiered on to Skowhegan, where she ate a piece of venison given her by a well-wisher.