An Anniversary Mystery

An Anniversary Mystery

In my family, the facts about our parents’ wedding were clear. Paul Russell Kidd and Ida Sue Smith were married in Nashville on Thanksgiving Day 1940 at 9:00 in the morning. Afterward, they drove to the Smoky Mountains, where they spent their honeymoon at the Mountain View Inn.

This past Thanksgiving, I had trouble recalling the exact date of their anniversary, which I knew to be around November 28, and so I did an Internet search for Thanksgiving 1940. To my surprise, the result showed November 21.

I knew that that date couldn’t be right, and yet there it was. Puzzled, I searched for Thanksgiving 1939 and Thanksgiving 1941, on the unthinkable chance we had gotten the year wrong. But neither Thanksgiving was anywhere near November 28.

Now baffled, I did more digging and made a surprising discovery.

There was a big controversy in 1939 and 1940, because President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving from the traditional last Thursday in November to a week earlier, thinking the change might help retailers during the Depression. However, a number of states objected to what they called “Franksgiving” and kept the original date. Apparently Tennessee was one of those states. Here’s what Wikipedia says:

In 1940, 32 states’ governments and the District of Columbia observed the earlier date on November 21, while 16 states chose what some were calling the “Republican” Thanksgiving on the 28th.

Here’s a link to the full article.

So my parents were married on the Republican Thanksgiving! I’ll bet they wouldn’t have been happy about that—though I’m sure they were happy, period, to get married. (My mother’s parents worshiped FDR and were probably unhappy about it; my father’s parents, who were more conservative and may not have liked FDR, might have approved.)

What an odd little footnote in U.S. history and my family’s history. Also, a reminder that political disagreements are not new.