The 4th of July brought back a lot of memories from my childhood this year. When we were kids, we had so much fun. There was a neighborhood parade. We planned for weeks ahead. After that? Swimming with friends in the pool, a cookout with bonnfire and then going to the fireworks. It was always such a great day!
Not long ago I was going through some of the family photos and came across this newspaper clipping.
It holds one of those sweet family memories. July 3rd 1958 was a big deal for my brother and me, though we had no idea at all at the time. You see, our mom was one creative lady. She made George and Martha Washington outfits for us to wear in the kids’ parade.
Our neighborhood had a strong group of families who organized events for their children year round. We had picnics and other get-togethers. It was an annual tradition to have the 4th of July children’s parade. Everyone participated.
Kids decorated their bikes by weaving crepe paper streamers through the spokes of the wheels and attaching cards* with clothespins to them so that they’d make a clicking sound as the bikes moved. *Some used baseball cards others used celebrity cards like the Beatles or Paul Revere and the Raiders – I try not to think about how valuable they could be today if we hadn’t done that. Who knew? They came in packs of gum and it was fun!
Now, this is funny: Mom put together these Colonial costumes. I was 5 years old and Seth was 3. She used nylon stockings as a base for the white wigs and glued (yes GLUE!) cotton to them while they were on our heads. And then the hats went over them. Getting them offback our heads later on was a trip! Ouch! Plus, I had a hoop under my skirt. You can’t sit down in a hoop skirt. So, I had to stand with a wig glued to my hair and I couldn’t sit down.
Seth was even less comfortable. It was a very hot July. You could hear the grass growing, it was so hot. A neighbor had called the newspaper because she thought what mom did was so creative that someone ought to know. They must have agreed because a photographer and reporter showed up.
Little three year old Seth was beside himself with displeasure. He wanted that costume OFF NOW!. So, to get him to be still for a few more minutes, mom grabbed a popcycle from the freezer. They thought it was so cute that they took photos of him licking it and told me to stick out my tongue like I wanted some. The caption “Real Cool George” was born.
The newspaper headline along with this photo was in both the morning and evening papers. It got syndicated and showed up in various papers throughout the nation including Los Angeles and Pittsburgh. My grandparents lived in Pennsylvania and when they opened up their morning paper and saw us there, well, it caused quite a stir.
So, it doesn’t have to be the 4th of July to have a parade does it? Just do it!
Putting together a kids’ parade is fun. Let the children do a lot of the work. Kids come up with great ideas.
Some of the things they can do:
Decorate bikes to ride in the parade
Make toy wagons into floats
Carry American flags
Dress in costumes
Dress up the dog and walk him in the parade
Push a baby doll or stuffed animal in a toy stroller
Play an instrument
March to the sound of a drum
March with pom poms
Walk blowing bubbles
Face paint the participants before it starts
Definitley, have refreshments for everyone at the end of the parade.
*If you do give out prizes, I urge you to keep prize-giving light hearted and low-key. This is family fun time, not a sporting event. Participating in a parade is the prize!
Have your kids ever had a parade? What fun things did they do?
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