Friday, July 4, 2014

Reflections of July 4th

Happy 4th of July!  I have been thinking about my favorite 4th of July memories.  By far - the most memorable celebration in my childhood was the bicentennial year.  

The summer of 1976 - I was 10 - I spent my time swimming at the Rothschild pool; water ballet and the dive team. 

Everything I needed and wanted my mom and dad provided for me.  My world was wrapped up in the security of parents who were married, loved each other and worked together to raise their family.  My dad had a hard, but good job.  One that he worked at outside every day, all day in all types of Wisconsin weather for 40 years.  My dad had a huge garden that he tended and my mom worked hard to prepare and can the fruits of his labor.   She was the anchor that held our family together through all types of blessings and trials.

Everyone in my neighborhood had parents that were married.  Everyone's dad had a job.  Those mothers that wanted to work outside the home did so and were successful as well.  We all ate homemade meals; going to McDonalds was a "treat."  We played outside ALL day, kick ball, softball, swimming, Red Rover, Annie Annie Over, hide and seek - NO one watch T.V. (well, we only had a few channels) all day, played video games or sat on a tablet or DS.  If we wanted to go somewhere, we rode our bikes or walked - we didn't have a taxi service.   Families went to church.  We lived a simple life....with less!

I so clearly remember the parade on that July 4th.  It went right past our house.  Schofield, Wisconsin went all out with the floats, candies and freebies.  Hundreds of people waving flags sat on the curb watching as the parade went down Grand Avenue.  I can still see my friend's family as they walked the parade dressed up like this:

It was awesome.  Michelle's mom was an excellent seamstress and made all the costumes for her 5 children for the parade.
That is another thing, if you lived in our neighborhood and didn't have at least 2 siblings - you were a minority.  When did it become "bad" to have a large family?  

Any who...on with what I want to say.  I can still remember feeling so patriotic on that day - I loved America!  I was told and taught - in school - we were the greatest nation on Earth.  I had dreams for my future, what I wanted to do and who I wanted to become.  In 1976 the American Dream still held promise.  I was blessed!

Fast forward to 2014....most of what I just wrote about has changed.  I hate to say, but the American Dream of my childhood is lost - or maybe even gone.  Did we trade it in for an upgrade, a better updated version of what I held so dear....I think not.   The dreams I had for my future and the dreams of children today may not be all that different.  The difference is, the America of 1976 and the America of 2014 ARE different.  

I LOVE my country, I'm proud to be an American from Wisconsin, I will always defend the principals our country was founded on.  It is just sad for me to think what will it be like in 2024?   

I had a discussion recently with a gentleman, I said basically what I just wrote.  Now, you all know I'm a "glass half full" person.  I try to find a positive in everything.  This man said I was wrong - that the future is brighter than our past.  I have thought about this over and over...I don't see it.  How can he think that broken, jobless, fatherless, homeless, hungry families are better off?  Yes, we have come a long way in women's, civil, personal "rights."  But, what did that cost us?  

So, today, as I walk in the Elderon, Wisconsin parade, passing out freeze pops, I will smile and wave my flag.  I will be thinking about that 1976 parade - in my heart I will be patriotic, thankful and hopeful.   God Bless America!  

Blessings from Ringle, Wisconsin.  
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