Northampton Press

Saturday, February 22, 2020
PRESS PHOTO BY STACEY KOCH In back are John Yurasits and his wife Mary Yurasits (right) and her sister Rosie Laury. In front, from left, are John Yurasits' three sisters, Theresa Erkinger, Helen Paul and Anne Stimpl. They range in age from 82 to 90. PRESS PHOTO BY STACEY KOCH In back are John Yurasits and his wife Mary Yurasits (right) and her sister Rosie Laury. In front, from left, are John Yurasits' three sisters, Theresa Erkinger, Helen Paul and Anne Stimpl. They range in age from 82 to 90.

Thankful in November

Thursday, November 27, 2014 by STACEY KOCH Special to The Press in Local News

Families grateful for each other

It is well known that Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what one has and to reflect on what life has blessed us all with. That's exactly what two families in Northampton are doing this year.

John Yurasits, his wife Mary Yurasits, her sister Rosie Laury and John Yurasits' three sisters, Anne Stimpl, Helen "Dusty" Paul and Theresa "Teddy" Erkinger are all from Northampton and shared a few thoughts on what Thanksgivings past and present have meant to each of them.

The oldest sibling at 90 is Stimpl. Paul is 89 "and a half!" she added. Erkinger is 84 and John Yurasits is 82. Mary Yurasits is 83, and Laury will be 85 in December.

Stimpl is having a special Thanksgiving this year. About a year ago, she had eye surgery that still requires frequent trips to Philadelphia.

"I always said my one big gift is my wonderful, loving family [who] helped me to get where I am today. My second gift is that I was partially blind, and I got a cornea implant. I'm thankful to God that I'm able to see my family again – not the best, but I can see all of you," Stimpl said. "I'm still here, and I intend to live to be 105," she said.

Paul is thankful that she can walk without a cane and can still jitterbug.

"I can jitterbug. That's for sure," Paul said.

Erkinger is thankful for her family and grateful she got to see her grandson get married recently.

"I'm thankful that we all survived so far," John Yurasits said. Mary Yurasits added that she's "happy all her children live close enough and come back and forth."

Laury is happy to have all her family close to her including the grandchildren and the great grandchildren, she said. Laury is also especially thankful for her sister. "She's my guardian angel."

One of the annual activities Northampton and Catasauqua residents are quite familiar with is the Northampton versus Catasauqua Turkey Day football game. Growing up in Northampton, these six people are all familiar with this, too.

"Oh, yes," they all replied when asked if they attended the games.

Stimpl said, "We always went. We never missed a game no matter what."

"It was always a tradition," John Yurasits said. "And I still go."

Although the times have changed and they each have their own families now, they all agreed Thanksgiving basically hasn't changed.

"We eat the same food, all are with the same families, watch the same football games," John Yurasits said.

But with their family, it's not just one person making the whole Thanksgiving meal anymore. Each household brings a dish, "which just makes it more logical," John Yurasits said.

However, today there's one part of Thanksgiving that has changed. In addition to opening very early in the morning on Black Friday, several stores, such as Target, Kohl's and Macy's, will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. These two families aren't fans of that.

"They don't have to be open for me," Mary Yurasits said.

"It pulls people away from their families," Stimpl said.

They all agreed they would never shop on Thanksgiving Day, nor do they believe stores should be open. In fact, they don't even shop on Black Friday.

"I don't want to get run over!" Erkinger said.

"Values have changed. We were brought up in a different world than generations now," John Yurasits said.

Even though time has passed and they don't see each other as often because of age and bigger families, "we still love each other," John Yurasits said. "We still do dumb things that we did years ago every now and then," he added with a laugh.

"We're just thankful for each of our families," John Yurasits said.

"Love is what keeps us going," Erkinger added.