11/27/08 — Their first Thanksgiving ... with a bit of a twist

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Their first Thanksgiving ... with a bit of a twist

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 27, 2008 1:46 PM


Members of the class enjoy their version of a Thanksgiving dinner.

There was fruit salad mixed with marshmallows, corn served with chili mayonnaise and plenty of creamed onions to go around.

In fact, just about the only thing that resembled traditional Thanksgiving fare was the turkey sitting in between two bowls of fried chicken.

Then again, those who showed up for an early holiday meal at the Hispanic Community Development Center Tuesday are far from typical themselves.

They are prospective U.S. citizens and members of an English as a Second Language class -- all Hispanic, most speaking Spanish in between bites.

But their teacher, Wayne Community College student Tammie Hedges, insisted that they speak in English when describing what they liked about a holiday previously unknown to them.

"The eating," one woman said.

"The sleeping," said another.

Their answers, while common, were limited.

But each of the dozen or so who turned out for that unique meal Tuesday knew it was more than just a "party day."

It was a chance to live the American experience.

And for center staff member and fellow ESL instructor Gaspar Gonzalez, it doesn't get any better than that.

"Each of them wants to become a citizen. They want to do it the right way," he said. "So today, they will learn about Thanksgiving and have a Thanksgiving dinner. Just like we do as citizens of this country."