Emeryville Amy

This blog will be a combination of my favorite places in the Bay Area and abroad, memoirs, recipes, restaurant reviews and travel experiences.

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Location: Emeryville, San Francisco Bay Area, CA, United States

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Red, White and Blue

I have lots of memories over the years from 4th of July celebrations. We often went to my cousins' house in Tustin (near Irvine, CA) and joined in with the rest of the cul-de-sac in typical 4th of July festivities. As it grew dark my uncle would hand out sparklers for us light as he set up his own pyrotechnic display and we would all gather around to see the fireworks. One year we did something different, here is what I remember...

It was a big deal when the Bicentennial rolled around in 1976. It was going to be the biggest and best 4th of July ever. A large local park filled with old Sycamore trees named Verdugo Park was the focus of the festivities in Glendale that year. It wasn’t unusual for people to arrive at dawn to reserve spots and picnic tables during the summer, so the park was pretty full when we arrived.
Mom had packed a big picnic lunch and had a little surprise for us as well. With enthusiasm and a big smile on her face she produced 6 big matching red white and blue Uncle Sam top hats for us to wear. Stephen who was 11 then took one look at them and said, “No way am I going to wear that. What if someone saw me? My friends would be laughing at me for weeks.”
Mom, a bit crushed, tried to talk him into it and eventually persuaded him saying that none of his friends would see him. I don’t know why she made that claim seeing that we were going to go to a very public place or why Stephen eventually bought it. But we generally did what we were told, and we weren’t supposed to talk back to our parents.
So, there we were at the park, decked out in festive red, white and blue outfits, eating our picnic lunch while wearing matching Uncle Sam hats. We were an all-American family with two boys and two girls and both Mom and Dad in patriotic clothes having a 4th of July picnic. A roving photographer came by and took a few shots of us together and then some more of us later as we played in the park and joined in the group games. We had a lot of fun and Stephen didn’t bump into any of his friends while wearing his hat.
The next day while we were eating a leisurely breakfast out by the pool at home, Mom went to the front door to pick up the newspaper. Because it was Sunday it was really big. Laughing to herself, she thought that she would tell Stephen that our picture was in the paper. She opened the paper and saw a huge picture of our family on the front page of the paper. Of course we were all wearing our top hats. Cackling as she does when something strikes her as REALLY%2