Oral histories are a vibrant and personal part of the Virginia Room’s collection.
Here, Barbara Ball Savage, a W & L alumnus, talks about one of Arlington’s Thanksgiving traditions, the Old Oaken Bucket game.
This interview was conducted in February of 2000.
Barbara Ball Savage: The Oaken Bucket was very big between W & L and George Washington High School in Alexandria. And you could count on a few fights there every Thanksgiving morning because the tempers would get pretty high. I can remember Forest Tucker, the actor – do you remember who Forest Tucker was? He was a W & L graduate. He graduated with my sister-in-law as a matter of fact. And he would come back for that game, so I can remember him being there while I was in high school. But it was a big thing. Thanksgiving morning we would all bundle up and I swear the days were colder then than they are now. I can remember just freezing. And if it was down in Alexandria we would all pile in cars and go down there and go to that game. It was really a big thing for Arlington and Alexandria. And then we’d come home and the turkey would be just about ready because Mother had things ready. She’d have dinner on the table for 21, 22 people by 2:00 at the latest.[…]
And Thanksgiving was a wonderful time, and then we all went out in the back yard and played touch football. Everybody got in the games and played. Or, we’d finish raking the leaves…[s]o Thanksgiving was a very special day. But that football game, you’d talk about it for a month ahead of time, you know, how important that game was going to be.
What About You?
What do you remember about the Old Oaken Bucket game? What about other Arlington high school traditions? Let us hear from you!