Archive for the ‘July 4 1914’ Tag

JULY 14, 1914 AFTER THE PARADE   2 comments

I try to keep things brief, suspecting that many of you may be like me, preferring the short and quick. So I’ve divided the July 14, 1914 outtake into two. I hope you will enjoy this end of the perfect day that began yesterday with the parade.

Like an animal’s tail, the crowd of observers and proud parents, most holding picnic baskets, hustled along behind the end of the parade to the cemetery. In the distance could be heard the last strains of the marching band as they headed straight to Forestville center and the waiting trolleys to move on and perform at the Bristol parade.

As the parade came to an end before the dais at the cemetery, the elementary school band broke into “God Bless America.” It was the rare person who didn’t sing along. Carl did.

Long-time residents sought out their family’s burial sites. The rest found inviting grassy spots to spread their blankets and distribute the contents of their picnic baskets. Carl, scooting into a sitting position, looked around, hoping to see the Andersons — Jennie, if truth be told.

He spotted her. Had he been looking in a mirror, he would have seen his smile pop open while his cheeks turned pink. Jennie was as good as a looking glass as her face did the same thing. He’d sit with her after courteously enjoying Hilda’s food.

But first, the speeches were starting. Forestville’s “mayor,” chosen by the businessmen primarily for his popularity and contribution to the welfare of the village, spoke first, lauding the patriotism of everyone he could think of. Some people listened, especially parents trying to set a good example of courtesy for their children.

The second speech, delivered by a patriot of apparent importance, made no lasting impression on Carl whose senses were all focused on his plan to join Jennie after finishing lunch:  goat cheese sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, pieces of cold korv, carrot sticks, thumb print cookies, milk in its original glass bottle and coffee in a cleaned milk bottle.

Later, he sat cross legged by Jennie’s side, ignoring clouds closing in occasionally, bringing darkness. Always they opened again, revealing more sunlight.



Back to posting outtakes from MY FATHER’S HOUSE

You do realize, of course, that I wasn’t actually there in 1914, but I had fun researching the possibilities. I think this is about as accurate a picture as I could come up with. I even had fun sitting at lunch with friends imagining what it might have been like.

And I hope I’m not repeating myself here. Anyway, this is it. July 4, 1914

On June 28, only a month after Carl’s graduation from Upsala College, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated. At first it raised little alarm in Forestville. This side of the Atlantic seemed so far away from European stress. Carl reminded himself how happy he was to be at such a distance from European wars and rumors of wars.

What seemed really important to him was the celebration of America on Saturday, July 4. 1914. The weather was chilly in Forestville, and rain threatened, but nothing could spoil the brightness of spirits. Emil, Hilda, and Carl set chairs out on the corner of Church and Washington Streets, a perfect spot for watching the Independence Day parade. Paul and Eddie, now enjoying the freedom of ages 12 and 14, joined the ride- by of bicycles whose wheel spokes were strung with red, white, and blue streamers.

By 9:45 a.m. there was a sea of patriotic color, even dogs had special scarves around their necks. Not a house in sight was without a flag hanging, sometimes blowing a little heavily in the damp and mild breeze.  Children darted back and forth despite the efforts of their grown-ups to restrain them while babies in arms squealed, cried, or just wiggled with excitement.

At 10:15, the restless crowd hushed to the distant sound of the Bristol High School band, bringing their performances of “The Liberty Bell March” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever” into view as parents beamed with pride and Carl’s eyes teared. Close behind came the flag with its thirteen stripes and forty-eight stars proudly borne by the boy with the highest academic average from Sarah E. Reynolds followed by the representative from Greene Hills School struggling to keep the Connecticut State flag off the ground.

Polite applause greeted the titular mayor of Forestville waving from the passenger seat of a red, white, and blue draped automobile displaying a “C.V. Mason & Company Motors” sign as it turned east onto Washington Street, thence south on Central Street toward the cemetery on Circle Street.

Enthusiastic applause and shouts greeted Miss Liberty and her entourage coming next, wrapped in white sheets and crocheted red, white and blue shawls, the winner and runners up of the essay contest, “Why I want to be Miss Liberty in the Independence Day Parade.” Uncle Sam followed, having won the honor by writing the best seventh grade essay on “Why I want to represent Uncle Sam in the Independence Day Parade.”

At a respectful distance, sitting tall in the saddle, appeared the chief of the volunteer fire department, trying to convince his recalcitrant horse that marching in a parade was an honor to be enjoyed. Following in proud contrast was the newly acquired, enthusiastically cheered steam-driven firetruck. Civil War veterans were next, proud and victorious as they received the cheers and applause of the crowd, followed by the local chapter of the recently created and uniformed members of the Boy Scouts of America.

A few hay wagon floats straggled through, giving Carl a chance to return the chairs to the house and fetch the picnic baskets. He returned in time to see two uniformed members of the Bristol Police Department carrying a large sign. “The End.”


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