Care Package ca. 1872-73

Thomas Nast, "Uncle Sam's Thanksgiving Dinner" (1869)

Thomas Nast, “Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Dinner” (1869)

To help their sons celebrate a Thanksgiving far from home,  Randall Wade and his brother-in-law, Orrin Backus, sent off a care package to cousins Jeptha Homer Wade and Willie Backus.  Both were Cadets  at Mt. Pleasant Military Academy  in  Sing, Sing NY.

The following doggerel, found in WRHS MS. 3292 The Jeptha Wade Family Papers, was sent to alert the two boys to the imminent arrival of the package and outlined the contents.

Dearest Cadets, our darling Sons
Here’s an eating-greeting from loved ones=

Yesterday, a goodly box we sent to you
Divide its contents between you two.
Loving hands did al the packing
A loving hand on-scribed the backing.
If the Express goes not astray
You’ll recieve it by Thanksgiving day-
So “Keep an eye out” in this direction
And put it in again for close inspection-
Open not publicly nor too soon
But await the privacy of your room=
Right side up with care, each package
That there may be no careless lackage [sic]
And when on bed you’ve ceased the piling
Laughing, tasting, smirking, smiling,
You may, for directions, proceed as follows=
Take ginger snaps, each at two swallows.
Then dance around, with finger snaps, and take
Next, coca-nut cake and stomac-ake,
Of greenhouse Grapes and figs a score,
The latter’s good, makes room for more-
“Go for” the Quails, and quail not
But bite carefully and beware of shot-
Dance again and with mouth open wider
Sample the big Apples, into mixed cider-
Roast the chestnuts and keep them handy
As daily companions to your surplus Candy-
The Maccarones, although small and thin
Come very handy for packing in-
And lastly close with a chocolat-wafer
If it seals your mouth so much the safer-
Keep the Jelly for your daily bread
A reminder why you are well fed-
No such fare brightened our school days
But these worthy Boys have changed our ways

When weary feasting drives you to bed
Nocturnal steeds will raise the spread
Visions of home and happiness there
Will fade into a frightful nightmare-
Unnatural shades of natural history
Of uncouth animals what a mystery-
The boxes of nicknacks now alive
With fearful contortions together strive,
Sugar coated, and painted with flour
Reeking with sweets, terrific in power
They climb the bed and upward crawl
Round and flat, large and small
Until with an unearthly yell
Awakening breaks the digestive spell

Believe these tokens lovingly made
By, Yours truly Backus & Wade


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