Edgar A. Guest was born in England on August 20, 1881 to Edwin and Julia Wayne Guest. When Edgar, known as Eddie, was ten years old, he and his family moved to America, settling in Detroit, Michigan. After his father lost his job, young Eddie started taking on odd jobs after school, eventually being hired as a copy boy for the Detroit Free Press in 1895. He worked his way up the ranks and stayed with this newspaper for 65 years.
Sometimes newspapers need fillers that are not time sensitive, such as poems or short stories. Edgar began writing and printing his own poems, which then led to a daily column of topical verses called the “Breakfast Table Chat”. His readers loved them so much they wanted to see collections of Edgar’s poems. Edgar talked it over his younger brother Harry, a typesetter, and they bought a case of type, beginning a book publishing business. Working in small batches, they printed the first two books of poems, Home Rhymes and Just Glad Things. After that, he sold enough copies to warrant professional publishing, and put into print the following:
Just Folks (1917)
Over Here (1918)
The Path to Home (1919)
A Dozen New Poems (1920)
Sunny Songs (1920)
When Day Is Done (1921)
All That Matters (1922)
The Passing Throng (1923)
The Light of Faith (1926)
Harbor Lights of Home (1928)
Rhymes of Childhood (1928)
Poems for the Home Folks (1930)
The Friendly Way (1931)
Life’s Highway (1933)
Collected Verse of Edgar Guest (1934)
All in a Lifetime (1938)
Today and Tomorrow (1942)
Living the Years (1949)
Edgar Guest’s popularity led to him broadcasting a weekly program on NBC radio from 1931 to 1942, followed by a TV show, “A Guest in Your Home”, in 1951.
Edgar Guest has been called the “People’s Poet”, because he took simple everyday things that many people could relate to and made rhymes out of them. His poem Thanksgiving was and is one of his most popular. Edgar Guest died on August 5, 1959.
Gettin’ together to smile an’ rejoice,
An’ eatin’ an’ laughin’ with folks of your choice;
An’ kissin’ the girls an’ declarin’ that they
Are growin’ more beautiful day after day;
Chattin’ an’ braggin’ a bit with the men,
Buildin’ the old family circle again;
Livin’ the wholesome an’ old-fashioned cheer,
Just for awhile at the end of the year.
Greetings fly fast as we crowd through the door
And under the old roof we gather once more
Just as we did when the youngsters were small;
Mother’s a little bit grayer, that’s all.
Father’s a little bit older, but still
Ready to romp an’ to laugh with a will.
Here we are back at the table again
Tellin’ our stories as women an’ men.
Bowed are our heads for a moment in prayer;
Oh, but we’re grateful an’ glad to be there.
Home from the east land an’ home from the west,
Home with the folks that are dearest an’ best.
Out of the sham of the cities afar
We’ve come for a time to be just what we are.
Here we can talk of ourselves an’ be frank,
Forgettin’ position an’ station an’ rank.
Give me the end of the year an’ its fun
When most of the plannin’ an’ toilin’ is done;
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin’ with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An I’ll put soul in my Thanksgivin’ prayers.
Recite and/or memorize the poem:
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Learn more about Guest’s home and complete:
Michigan Symbols Tab Book
Where is Michigan? Shutterfold
Michigan State Flower and Bird Coloring Page
Michigan State Flower and Bird Minit Book
…all found on the USA Connections Page.
Practice handwriting skills with:
Analyze “Thanksgiving” using:
For a tea time treat make:
Thanksgiving Blessings Mix
Bugles: Shaped like the cornucopia, a symbol of our abundance.
Pretzels: Arms folded in prayer, a freedom from those who founded our country.
Candy Corn: The sacrifice of the pilgrim’s first winter. Food was so scarce they survived on just a few kernels of corn a day.
Nuts/Seeds: Promise of future harvest – only obtained if we plant and nourish with diligence and faith.
M&Ms: Memories of those who came before and lead us to a blessed future.
Hershey’s Kiss: The love of family and friends that sweetens our lives.
To extend your Tea Time into a Unit Study, choose from the many selections here: