I didn’tknow I was creating a tradition. What I wanted to do was make Fourth of July as patriotic as possibleconsidering I lived in southern California where we don’t have the Boston Popsor the Washington Monument. When Iwas very young, my brothers and sisters piled into the back of the stationwagon and my dad drove practically non-stop from California to Indiana for afew weeks every few summers. Oneday we were visiting relatives in the small Indiana town of Jasonville where mydad grew up. In no time at all, ahorse and wagon was hitched up; children mounted their horses, and we paradeddown Main Street in our own personal small town parade. Those were the days you didn’t need apermit, a holiday, or any reason for a parade except we’d come to town and itwould be fun.
The onlyway to recreate the small town parade while living in southern California wasto put together a Fourth of July neighborhood street parade. We made homemade invitations and thechildren passed them out door-to-door. They encouraged people to participate even if they just wanted to clapas the parade went by. After all,a parade needs spectators to wave and cheer.
At 10a.m. on the Fourth, children on decorated tricycles and bikes, parents pullingflag festooned wagons, and everyone wearing their red, white, and blue. Everyyear 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 themon muslin. I didn’t bother withperfection because I was going for the country casual look.
Ourparade had a boom box playing patriotic music instead of a marching band. My dad, a former F.B.I. agent was putin charge of security. He walked onahead and made sure to stop any cars and that the route was safe. People would get out of their cars andenjoy the parade. At the end ofthe parade, everyone gathered in our driveway for lemonade and flagcookies.
Laterthat day we always had old fashioned hand cranked ice cream. If you didn’t take your turn crankingand filling the oak barrel with salt and ice, you didn’t eat ice cream. There were a few years when I wasn’tsure my nephew, Jason, was going to get any ice cream, but eventually he’d take his turn.
As it wasgetting dark, the kids would be anxious to go to the top of the hill in PortolaHills and watch fireworks from El Toro Marine Base, Laguna Beach, and othercoastal cities. A perfectending 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.