know I was creating a tradition.
What I wanted to do was make Fourth of July as patriotic as possible
considering I lived in southern California where we don't have the Boston Pops
or the Washington Monument. When I
was very young, my brothers and sisters piled into the back of the station
wagon and my dad drove practically non-stop from California to Indiana for a
few weeks every few summers. One
day we were visiting relatives in the small Indiana town of Jasonville where my
dad grew up. In no time at all, a
horse and wagon was hitched up; children mounted their horses, and we paraded
down Main Street in our own personal small town parade. Those were the days you didn't need a
permit, a holiday, or any reason for a parade except we'd come to town and it
would be fun.
way to recreate the small town parade while living in southern California was
to put together a Fourth of July neighborhood street parade. We made homemade invitations and the
children passed them out door-to-door.
They encouraged people to participate even if they just wanted to clap
as the parade went by. After all,
a parade needs spectators to wave and cheer.
a.m. on the Fourth, children on decorated tricycles and bikes, parents pulling
flag festooned wagons, and everyone wearing their red, white, and blue. Every
year I made patriotic tee shirts and one year I made sashes that said
"America", "Freedom", and "Liberty". These were very simply made. I cut out fabric letters and sewed them
on muslin. I didn't bother with
perfection because I was going for the country casual look.
parade had a boom box playing patriotic music instead of a marching band. My dad, a former F.B.I. agent was put
in charge of security. He walked on
ahead and made sure to stop any cars and that the route was safe. People would get out of their cars and
enjoy the parade. At the end of
the parade, everyone gathered in our driveway for lemonade and flag
that day we always had old fashioned hand cranked ice cream. If you didn't take your turn cranking
and filling the oak barrel with salt and ice, you didn't eat ice cream. There were a few years when I wasn't
sure my nephew, Jason, was going to get any ice cream, but eventually he'd take his turn.
As it was
getting dark, the kids would be anxious to go to the top of the hill in Portola
Hills and watch fireworks from El Toro Marine Base, Laguna Beach, and other
coastal cities. A perfect
ending of a day that turned into a holiday tradition.
Nancy Nemitz, owner of Create the Space Professional Organizing LLC, works with busy families, professional athletes, small businesses, and moms to create an organized space for them to live and work. She's been featured on this year's Season Finale of TLC's Hoarding:Buried Alive, "It's A Freakin War Zone". Nancy has four grown children and has been married for 35 years.
Labels: 4th of July, Celebrations