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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Growing up in Naperville – Celebrating holidays, yesterday and today


This past holiday season I found myself thinking about how it used to be around all of our family get-togethers and how close all of our relatives lived to each other in the Naperville area.

After World War II, my grandpa Keller decided it was time to start getting family things back to normal.

Grandpa Keller hosted Thanksgiving dinner at the Keller farm, a time that included my dad’s siblings and their spouses in attendance. He had four sisters and a brother. Two aunts that never married also attended. They all were seated at the “adult” table and the cousins sat at the “kids” table.

The Thanksgiving meal included turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, two veggies and beet pickles. Dessert was always pumpkin pie and apple pie.

Christmas dinner was held at my Grandpa Goodge’s home with the other side of the family, including my Mom, Dad, sister Julie, Uncle Les and Aunt Edna, several nephews, Aunt Pearl and cousin Beverly.

The meal included turkey, goose, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberries, corn, asparagus and fruit salad.

Easter dinner was always at my parents’ house. And always with ham. All of my relatives lived within five miles of us.

Today Vicki and I have children throughout America, thousands of miles apart.

We have a daughter and son in Daytona Beach, Florida; a daughter in Houston, Texas; and a daughter in Nashville, Tennessee. We have grandkids in Texas, Tennessee, Indiana and Kentucky. And our grandson is in the U.S. Army—he’s been stationed in Korea, Romania and Germany!

We have never had everyone all together at one time for any holiday. Holiday dinners are different today and yesterday is a thing of the past. But what great memories!

I hope all of our readers had a great holiday season. Happy 2023!

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Ron Keller
Ron Keller
Ron Keller is a lifelong Naperville resident, tuba enthusiast and has been conducting the Naperville Municipal Band for over 50 years.