Good afternoon folks. Hope you are all doing well. I’ve been sharing in the past several weeks, family memories and some other stuff. I’m going to briefly recap my first 4th of July memory. I hope it will inspire some of you to share some of your own.
I’ve told you in the past that my grandparents lived in St Louis when I was young. Each summer, we would go and visit them, typically around the 4th – probably due to vacation time schedules from work. Mom and Dad would pack us into the car and we would leave about midnight I would guess for the 10 hour drive to St Louis. Anyone who travels with little kids will tell you that’s the best way to do it 😉 at night so the kiddies can sleep on the way. My recollection of these times is mostly in 8mm silent movie or 35mm slide form. Say what you like about these mediums but to me, they were some of the coolest things ever. Anyway, as you might expect, we would typically arrive in the morning bright eyed and bushy tailed and my mother exhausted. She never could sleep in an upright position so even though they shared, Dad would sleep at least part of the way. My grandparent’s apartment was a tiny one bedroom affair with a small livingroom, bathroom, and a kitchen. Interestingly, or not, this is the same place my mother lived with them when she was attending GW University before she met dad and got married. At that time, mom slept on a roll away bed stationed in the hallway. When we would visit, the grandparents would give up their bedroom to mom and dad. I couldn’t tell you where they slept, my sister and I would be stuck on to the roll away, I guess they slept on the couch and chair. Actually now that I think of it, our visits must have been hell for them. Good thing they were usually only a weekend long. I guess the apartment was big enough for them, they never seemed to care about or be impressed by big living spaces.
Anyway, the apartment was only a few blocks from the St Louis Arch. Funny, as many times as I’ve been there, I’ve never been inside of it. I don’t think I could have been more than 4 at the time, I think my sister was still in a stroller. I don’t remember the walk to the river front but somehow we managed to get there. The occasion of course was the 4th along with the air show and later, fireworks display If I’m not mistaken, this was 1968, the year that the arch was inaugurated. The 8mm and 35mm memories allow me to see various events of the day that, I don’t know if I actually remember or if I’m remembering them because of the film. Parachute jumpers with colored smoke canisters jumping out of airplanes, racing and stunt pilots doing tricks in the air, you know, typical things from an air show. I’ve seen so many fireworks displays that I couldn’t tell you if I remember that one specifically or not. They’re all about the same to me and now, I prefer much smaller shows than the big multi million dollar productions. I do remember being on the slope of the riverfront watching all of this unfold. I’m sure there was the typical picnic over priced fare to eat and drink and I’m equally certain that we brought our own.
I can’t say I remember much vivid detail about the day, I couldn’t tell you what everyone looked like or was wearing. There is one memory that has always remained with me and to a 4 or 5 year old, it was the coolest thing ever. That’s probably why it sticks out in my memory. I’m sure that by the end of the day, when it was time to walk home, I was a real piss ant whining and complaining. Well, as much as would be tolerated by the adults. As I said, sister was likely in a stroller at the time and I was probably too big for it. I couldn’t tell you how it happened or why or who arranged it but, I was given a ride back to the apartment on the back of a police motorcycle. I couldn’t tell you what kind it was, I can’t swear a helmet was involved but I don’t care. This wasn’t captured on film and I still remember it to this very day. It had to be the highlight of my day and one I hope I never forget. Now that I’ve put it in writing, it won’t be.
Hope you enjoyed the story as much as I enjoy telling you. Have a safe and happy 4th. It’s hotter than blue blazes around here so you blog people, are stuck with me for the day 😉