1. 4th of July

jt_1951My sister Barbara was 10 years old and my sister Janis was 8 years old when I was born.  Since my parents were both in their late 30s at the time, clearly I was an accident.  Nevertheless, in some fashion, my sisters delighted in having a new baby brother.  One such delight was the annual 4th of July parade that many small towns had every year.  Our little town was no exception, almost to the point of strangeness.

Anyone that wanted to could march in the 4th of July parade.  It wasn’t like today where only major high school bands, businesses, floats, or fire trucks can participate.  Everyone delighted in dressing up whatever vehicle they had to celebrate the day.  After all, the Republic was only 175 years old and these things had to be celebrated.  As near as I can tell, my family never participated before July 1951.

My sisters now had an excuse to dress up and show off their new baby brother, and they spent countless hours designing and making a suitable costume for me in that wonderful parade beginning with a simple stroller for a 9-month-old boy.  As you can see however, the result of the vehicle and its only occupant were the result of the imaginings of two young Girl Scouts.

The years went by and there were always the stories about that “adorable” little boy in the parade so long ago.  Moreover, as the parades began and ended, so too did the rules of the parade.  I am told that it became important to encourage people to participate and so a Grandstand was constructed and prizes were invented.  A little boy, now 4 years 9 months, was to be in the 1955 parade.

My sisters were not as enthusiastic about showing me off as they once had been.  Now 15 and 13 they were on to other interests that no doubt included boys their own age and the burgeoning rock-and-roll music that was just then appearing on the scene.  However, they did help with the decorating of my little tricycle.  For my part, I had discovered Roy Rodgers, Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger, and the Cisco Kid.  There was nothing better than “good vs. evil” and I had my favorites all picked out.  I had my cowboy hat, my fancy holster, and toy six-guns, and I was ready.jt-1955

I don’t remember much of the parade except the ending at the grandstand.  I thought it would be a good idea to take off my cowboy hat and wave to the crowd and to the members on the grandstand.  They awarded me a $5 prize for being the cutest kid in the parade, or some such made up thing.  For many years, afterward I was the subject of 4th of July legend.  There are few people alive today who would remember it, but occasionally I still hear a reference to the cute towhead kid in the parade.

This episode, and the subsequent notoriety that forever followed, seemed to end my sister’s need to show off their baby brother.  They were in their teens and their 4-year-old brother had shown them up big time!  At their ages, they didn’t need the competition and I don’t remember ever participating in another 4th of July parade.

© J T Weaver

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About J T Weaver

The author of "Uphill Both Ways," a thought provoking series of stories about life, family, and growing up.
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61 Responses to 1. 4th of July

  1. Written snapshots for your children. Fine idea. I enjoy different approaches to memoir as I explore similar ideas and themes myself, both at Lonely Keyboards and Vinyl Connection. Hope to find time to work through (at least some of!) your archive, JT.
    Bruce

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  2. Hi J T Weaver. great Memory. Thank you for liking my poem Encounter! Peace and Best Wishes. The Foureyed Poet.

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  3. Everything happens for a reason(s). I am convinced that the human condition is to share and to attempt understanding. Thus, stories. Thanks for telling them…both the cute and the not so cute. 🙂 Hats off to you, cowboy!

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  4. epsnider says:

    Accidents happen for a reason. You are a talented writer and you are leaving a great legacy not only for your children but an expanded audience as well.

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  5. Frances D says:

    You were one cute kid. Are you and your sisters close? I was a big sister, the age difference was much less, but I did enjoy the “job” 😉

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  6. Jean says:

    My youngest brother is 10 years old than me as well. I remember being both doted on and pushed away. Nice story!

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  7. yakinamac says:

    Ah, what a little cutie pie! That’s what comes of being the youngest in the family – my younger sister was definitely the cute one in our household. Not that it seems my dad, at least, ever really noticed – when I asked him to dig out a baby pic for a recent “identify the baby” quiz at work, he sent through a photo of my blonde, curly haired sister, instead of brown, straight-haired me. Oh well.

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  8. how fun! to think I am reading the post of living cowboy legend… thanks for the smile that your writing brings. DAF

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  9. i*Kan says:

    Good story! Your blog’s theme is a wonderful idea.

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  10. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up!
    I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later. Many thanks

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  11. bookangel2 says:

    What a delightful childhood story! When I was born, my brother was nearly ten and he and my big sister liked to take me out in my pushchair. The problem was that he used to hijack the pushchair and career down the street, taking the corners on two wheels, while my sister was left in tears, imagining that baby would meet her end. It wasn’t long before he was banned!

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  12. Being new to blogging, it’s great to read about other people’s lives, particularly when your paths would never cross otherwise. Such a lovely post

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  13. tchistorygal says:

    Adorable! We are almost the same age, and I, too was a towhead. And like you, I would be again, but I cover up the light gray with light blond. Those were the days of trikes, Roy Rogers, cowboy clothes. I bet you have a picture on a horse where you are all dressed up in your cowboy outfit. I think everyone did of that era. This is going to be a walk down memory lane for me too! 🙂

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  14. shoe1000 says:

    Sir,
    I dont know what happened to my first post here. I want to first say thanks. I looked at your page and thought, what is this guy doing connecting to my blog. I know now.
    Welcome,
    Keep coming back
    I will be back here.

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  15. I am going to post my thoughts without reference to the other posts that I have read. I want to keep the responses unique.
    The first thing that stood out to me (a thing that we have in common) is the age difference between you and your sisters. Did you find it hard to relate to them on a regular basis? At the ending of this post, it seems like there was some resentment. Maybe resentment is the wrong word. Conflict might be a better word.

    I absolutely love the music from the 1950’s and 60’s. I am an eclectic music lover and The Blues… Nina Simone and ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’… She had such presence. I could go on and on about the music.

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    • J T Weaver says:

      oh certainly. As I wrote, I was a Valentines Day accident. It was pre-birth control so those things happened more than today. And at first I think my sisters thought it was cool having me around but that wore off. They were teenagers after all – understandable. But I hardly knew them growing up. We were never all that close, although Janis and I are closer now than ever.

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  16. Laura says:

    Great idea for a blog, JT! And I love the stories you’ve shared, complete with pictures. I didn’t start a blog with the intention of “leaving” or “creating” something of my life for my daughter, but I realize that’s what it will be. Stories of now, but also of growing up. It’s sad in a way that the days of faded letters and yellowing photographs is over… our grandchildren will be able to see our Facebook pages (and blogs!) and know so much about us. No more mystery. But there’s some good in that, also. Thanks for checking out my blog and the follow! xLaura

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  17. Sunshine says:

    such a lovely flashback story about a cherished moment in your life. as far as simple parades, they may exist only in very small towns where the pace of life sometimes feel like slow moving molasses. ☺

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  18. zombieaussie says:

    Will life ever be that simple again? Or am I just seeing it from an adult’s perspective? Love your style, I could see it as if I had been there.
    Keep on doing this.
    Regards
    David

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  19. Gallivanta says:

    What fun that everyone was welcome to be in the parade. Your tricycle and your stroller remind me of photos of my trike and pram. I wasn’t ever in a parade 😦

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  20. Jalal says:

    Thanks for following my blog–I’m honoured. And reading the intro and this post in “For My Chidren” is inspiring me. I, too, grow old in years, yet strangely somehow neither in body or spirit (it’s a family trait, actually) and like you, I have the benefit/burden of being a writer. Perhaps it’s a good time to include more family stories in my writing, so as to leave a breadcrumb trail for posterity whose future existences I can only scarcely fathom, but at least some of which I plan to witness as well. 🙂

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  21. Ajaytao2010 says:

    Nice reading about you

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Be in touch. Browse through the category sections, I feel you may find something of your interest.

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  22. mixedupmeme says:

    That’s me in the Girl Scout uniform. Nothing like the chic dresses they get to wear today. 😦

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  23. jatwood4 says:

    Big sisters can be like that! — it’s towhead. Tell me if you don’t want any of that stuff — but I thought you might like to know. Great post — I remember those parades, too!

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  24. You’re definitely one up on my – I never got voted the cutest anything in all my years:)

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