Thanks for the Memories

My family has been celebrating Thanksgiving for over two hundred years. My mother’s family emigrated in the early 1700’s from England, Scotland, and Ireland, and my father’s ancestors came in the 1800’s from England.

Mother and Daddy 1

My parents, Archie Melvin Mills and Norma Lynne Griffin Mills, married in May of 1943. This photo was taken on their wedding day. Snazzy, huh?

Our Thanksgiving table grew as the family did. By the time we had all married and had children (and grandchildren), there were fifty or so family members and friends dropping by on Thanksgiving day to visit, laugh, and sample Mother’s famous cooking. Her turkey stuffing was legendary.

Mills family

My parents with their six children in September, 1955, on Layne’s birthday. From the right: Layne, me (The Naked One), Gayle, Brian, Marlin, and Lyndon. Lyndon took the original picture, so mother had him photoshopped into this one a few years before she died.

Now that my parents have passed away, my extended family no longer meets more than once a year. My children are in California and Japan, and they cannot come home. Our elder daughter is expecting our second grandchild any minute, and our younger daughter’s husband plays for the 49ers. It may be another year before we see the elder one, and it will certainly be the NFL offseason until we can expect a visit from the younger.

We cannot go to them at this time either, but I’m thankful for all the good memories I have of previous times together.

I’m thankful to have been born into a family who valued family relationships and honored those ties. I’m thankful to have had Godly parents who reared me in their faith.


Larry and I are pictured with our two daughters, granddaughter, and son-in-law at the younger daughter’s wedding in June, 2015.

Our celebration may be small this year, but I’m thankful that my daughters are happy and married to men who appreciate and adore them.

Most of all, I’m thankful that however many miles may separate us, we all love each other.

This entry was posted in Family, Holiday, Southern living and tagged on by .

About Robin Helm

Robin Helm's latest work is Understanding Elizabeth, a stand-alone Regency Romance. She joined three other JAFF authors for a best selling Christmas anthology - A Very Austen Christmas. After publishing all three volumes of The Guardian Trilogy: Guardian, SoulFire, and Legacy, she published the Yours by Design Series: Accidentally Yours, Sincerely Yours, and Forever Yours. She and her husband have two adult daughters, two sons-in-law, two granddaughters, a grandson, and a Yorkie Poo named Toby.

11 thoughts on “Thanks for the Memories

    1. Robin Helm Post author

      Thanks, Laura. I know that I’m very much like my mother. I was very blessed to be born to her and my father. God has always been so good to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. tgruy

    That’s a great story and it does get harder for families to meet when the anchors are gone. I have a very large family on my mother’s side: my mother had 10 brothers and sisters (she was the 11th and there were 6 brothers and 5 sisters, 3 of which have died, including my mom) and they had 59 kids among them. So I have lots of cousins (male and female) and even more nieces and nephews and grand nieces and grand nephews! My female cousins and I still try to get together every two years or so… It’s great!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Robin Helm Post author

    Thanks for sharing that! My dad’s family had 14 children (3 died in infancy), and my mother’s had 8. I formerly had over 50 aunts and uncles. Now I have 1. I do still have many nieces, nephews, and greats. I hope we can get together at Christmas this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan Kaye

    I have two children and my brother has only a daughter. My mom is an only child who married a man with only one brother. The tree continues up that way for generations. It’s interesting how the number of children in families affects practically everything.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Robin Helm Post author

      It really does. Larry and I will be guests at Gayle’s house for Thanksgiving, along with her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren. We will still be a fairly large group, and we’ll talk about our memories while we make new ones. I’m very thankful for my large family, and I wish I’d had more children myself.


      1. Elaine Morgan Sills

        Robin, I am so behind these days but I just opened your blog and saw Uncle Melvyn (he always called me Red…made me mad until I “got” it that he like red/strawberry hair) and Aunt Norma Lynne. I have never see this photo or the one of all of you in the 50s. Loved it all, and especially the stories. We, too, had a smaller celebration due to location and extended family/taking turns, etc. But I will never forget my grandparents and the HUGE dinners, suppers, and holiday celebrations that happened just like the US Mail: neither rain, snow, sleet, or hail prevented the Mills family from gathering on Sundays, etc. As for having more children, I believe you and Larry had two pieces of Gold and more gold just keeps coming! Love to all. Elaine

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Robin Helm Post author

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and memories with us, Elaine. My mother and father loved all of their family – parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Most Sundays of my childhood were spent visiting aunts, uncles, and cousins. We were at Mama’s and Papa’s very often, and we would walk down to visit Aunt May, Uncle Roscoe, and my cousins. We were also at Aunt Lib and Uncle Everett’s house nearly every week. Uncle J.D. came by our house to sell us vegetables, and Aunt Hazel and Uncle Wesley kept me while Mother worked the year that I was five. I have no memories of mother’s parents. Her mother died when she was eight, and her father died when I was nine months old. He lived with us, and he had taught me to stand alone that day. I was in my crib, and Gayle and Layne were on his lap in his rocker when he died.



Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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