Sunday, July 3, 2011

4th of July and Parades

Tomorrow, on the 4th, there will a huge parade through the streets of our little town. I won't be there. In fact I haven't attended the parade since 12 years ago when I rode in one of the county fire trucks driven by my volunteer fire fighter husband. We did that for 2 years.

It was fun, riding high above the crowds lining the streets, throwing candies out the windows to the kids, blasting the horn now and then. It was fun to be part of the parade and part of the fire department.

Since then I've always skipped the parade and the festivities in town. We've only once driven to where we could see the fireworks. Instead, we hole up on our property and wait for it to be over. Why?

Why? That's the question behind today's post. Seems to be something from my childhood, some anxiety or fear.

I recall enjoying community 4th of July celebrations as a youth, spending the whole day and evening at a local park, participating in three-legged races and such, eating hot dogs and ice cream, anticipating all day the culminating fireworks display. Didn't like the big-bang crackers, but super loved the cascading, color-changing sparklers. Happy memories. Whole family, big blanket spread on the ground, our little "turf," Mom and Dad on the blanket, like home base.

But for un-remembered reasons, we didn't go to the parade, which was the kick-off event to the day's fun. Maybe my brother went to it. I didn't.

So, going back in time, I recall going to at least one 4th of July parade in Sutter Creek, CA, as a child, maybe when I was 2 or 3? My biological father died in a car accident in September, five days before I turned 5. Since my memory has me atop my Daddy's shoulders, it must have been when I was 4 or less years old.

Feeling my way through the shreds of memory now... Daddy, taller than most men in the crowd, and me on his shoulders giving me a fabulous view! Yet it's possible I'm a little frightened by the size of the crowd and all the noise they are making. Do I feel insecure way up high, by myself? Did Daddy put me down? Was I engulfed by the crowd? Did Daddy let go of my hand for a moment? Did I get lost? I do not recall the specifics, but as I write these words, I feel agitated, anxious, with a sensation of wanting to graze in the kitchen, rare thoughts of my binge foods.

It seems pretty clear that not wanting to attend parades as a spectator has something to do with this incomplete memory. It's OK if I don't go to parades. Yet, I'd like to find a way to comfort and reassure my inner child about the past event.


  1. I think it's a healthy thing to explore this vague memory. So you can learn from it, and find resolution.

    And parts of it sound like good memories, of you and your Dad together. I hope you are able to connect the dots, and find a peace in it all.

    That will cut the ties to the bad parts, when you find closure there, and still retain the sweet image of you on Dad's shoulders, enjoying the fabulous view of all the excitement.

    Honestly... I don't have any memories of my real Dad like that when I was little... I kind of envy you yours. :-)

  2. Amazing how those vague memories can skip the details but yet the food thoughts appear......

    I hope you find the answers you are looking for..until parade at a time...

    and maybe...just maybe.. it wasn't anything bad other than parades weren't the same without him and riding high in that firetruck gave you the same perspective as being on Daddy's shoulders...

  3. Took an extra chair to the parade just in case you changed your mind, though I figured you would not come. A family with three children were next to me. The oldest sat in my extra chair, and three of his classmates sat on the street in front of us. The parade was bigger than ever, and the announcer got confused from time to time, but the children all loved the parade and the candy they caught. I thought of you and your happy memories of past parades as I watched the children yesterday.


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