July 9, 2006

Anywhere But There

Our hometown bank is Burke & Herbert, a family-run institution that just celebrated their 150th anniversary. Most of the other smaller banks in this area have been sucked up by the monsters. But not good old B&H, friendly service with a smile.

I frequent the King Street branch, usually twice a week. I was there on the fifth of July making a deposit. The manager smiled at me and asked how I was doing. We exchanged pleasantries as the teller processed my transaction.

"Did you go to DC for the fireworks?" she queried. "Everyone there got so wet!"

"Oh heck no," I said. "My parents took me and my sister downtown for the Bicentennial Celebration. It scarred me for life!"

And it did. Scarred me. Talk about hellacious crowds. Talk about heat. Talk about lines for the porta-potties. Talk about overused porta-potties in the heat. Need I say more?

It was 1976. I was 13 years old. Our family parked our car at the Pentagon and rode our bicycles from there to the National Mall. We staked out a place in the grass, using our bikes to frame off a little area to encourage people to walk around us instead of stepping over or on us. It mostly worked.

Yes the fireworks were spectacular. I do remember that. But it was a long day. The bike ride back to our car after the show was downright terrifying. Mass exodus: pedestrians, bicyclists, buses, motorcycles, planes, trains, automobiles..... it was crazy insane.

I haven't been back since. That's right. I deprived The Boy of experiencing fireworks in the Nation's Capitol. He should thank me.

Where did you spend July 4, 1976?

.

29 comments:

WenWhit said...

I think my whole fam-damily went to the local library for a ceremonial ringing of the bell and fireworks.

maxine said...

Jay, NY. I was nearly 12 and my family had recently moved to upstate NY for my father's health and 'a better way of life'. Small town life scarred me forever in many ways, but I saw the fireworks stretched out on the rocks in the middle of the AuSable River just beyond the covered bridge at the four corners.

The fireworks were doubly good because I wasn't supposed to be where I was. Not in Jay, and specifically not in the middle of the river where I had certainly not been been swimming all day with my friends. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

Pam said...

Wasn't born. Bet you hate me now.

J said...

I was being conceived.

True story.

the only daughter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the only daughter said...

I was 15, three weeks away from the 16th birthday. I left the house to stay with a friend, with little intention of going back..but I had to, and i did, 2 days later. My new job started and I threw myself into work--until it was time to start my final year in high school.

TDharma said...

gee, I had just turned 19....no surprise I can't remember how I spent that 4th of July...very well could've been watching fireworks from the Monterey wharf, high on weed yuckin' it up with friends. But I honestly don't remember. That was a long time ago and a few lifetimes away from my current incarnation of uber mom and hard worker. Proud Mary keeps on rolling....

dara Ickes said...

I was 11 and I remember my girl scout troop painting the street sign posts in my small village of 500 people. We painted the posts in alternating red, white, and blue. In the 30 years since then, the posts have not been touched and still have the remains of that paint.

Gunfighter said...

I was 12 years old in Vauxhall, New Jersey.

I probably spent the day playing with firecrackers and then going to see the fireworks show that was done annually in a local park in Maplewood.

yankeegirl said...

Nashville, Tn. I was 11, getting ready to go to summer camp. My sister got married on the 12th that year.

sporksforall said...

Let me start with fireworks on the mall. I used to do that during my D.C. years. I did it until I just couldn't do it anymore. What you have patience for in your 20s does not last.

I spent 7/4/76 on Jekyll Island, Georgia. My grandmother made she and my grandfather Revolutionary War outfits and walked around in the summer heat in them. I found it a little mortifying at the time. Now, I think it was cute. I should have told them that.

~m~ said...

Ha! I got grounded!

My girlfriend and I told our parents that we were going to the park carnival and instead met our older boyfriends and left in my boyfriend's truck. We went to the canyon then to my boyfriend's house where we had to hide in his closet when his dad came home and then make a quick getaway out his basement window. We then headed back to the park. On our way home I kissed the boyfriend as he was pulling up to a light and he rear ended the car in front of him. The lady got out to see the damage (there wasnt any) and told us to go have fun. whew! But by the time I got home my parents had been looking for me and realized I wasn't where I was supposed to be. ooops! Happy Bicentennial!

Anonymous said...

I spent the afternoon and evening washing every surface and item in your father's kitchen. The apartment owners decided to spray every kitchen for bugs. Your father was on a Navy contracting trip to the far East and did not receive the notice. He thus did not remove items from the kitchen. I arrived to watch the festivities in San Diego Bay and my nose clued me in to the dastardly deed. I hoped my efforts would be rewarded - and they were, on Dec. 27, 1978. You were there!

scout said...

I don't specifically remember July 4 of '76, but I imagine I spent it as I did most every other year, riding my bike up and down the street to watch the neighbors shoot off fireworks. My father, a fire-safety engineer who spent his Independence Days standing on our roof with a hose, thought fireworks were a waste of money and a "damned dangerous nuisance."

Geeky Dragon Girl said...

I was busy being 3 and I have no idea what we did that day. If it was noisy I was probably busy crying or cowering.

SassyFemme said...

I was not quite yet 10 and don't quite remember it. Watched the fireworks from my godmother's back yard in Manchester, NH, I imagine, that's what we did every 4th when I was a kid.

me said...

I was in my mother's uterus. The fireworks--at least for her--would come two months later.

KMae said...

I was 29, living 6 yrs with a Restaurant Owner in Chelsea in NYC. We rode our bikes to our store, Poppy's in the W. Village (6th ave/12th st)& were all patriotic wearing red white & blue. I had on an old hippie suede flag vest with long fringe past my butt, Short denim cut offs, & a flag visor that held back my waist-long streaked hair. We got loaded in his small office back in the restaurant on pot & coke along with another Flight Attendant friend that lived in our building. I totally lusted for her, & she for me. We all rode our bicycles to the West Side Highway to watch the fabulous Macy's fire works over the Hudson River! Everyone in the crowd was passing around joints (it was the 70's, y'all) & the light show was a total trip, out of sight as we used to exclaim! We rode back to Poppy's & ate about 100 chocolate chip cookies & drank Tab.

Anonymous said...

Liz here from I Speak of Dreams Wow I didn't think of the 30 years gone until you brought it up. I was 24, and a bunch of families got together at the beach-- the Paternal Units gave set speeches in character (Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson I remember) -- and then fireworks (local and illegal) followed by fireworks (regional and totally legal).

I do remember being moved by "Thomas Jefferson's" firey speech. And making out on the beach.

weese said...

hmm, '76, hmm.
nope - can't remember.
I was 15 tho - which is probably why I can't remember

1 version of normal said...

I was a week old. Exactly. I was probably in my mother's arms crying. As it seemed to be my favorite pass time as a baby. Jeez what a bummer that must a been.

tiff said...

We watched fireworks at Fairfax High School, I think. I was 14 and impressionable and wrote about it in my journal, I know that....

Elizabeth said...

We watched the National Mall fireworks on TV.

It's a world of laughter
A world of tears...

It's a small, small world.

Jane said...

I spent it in Independence, Missouri. How cool is that?

westendavenue said...

We went to my mom's friend's apartment on the Upper East Side to watch the tall ships sail up the East River. (Must've been the East River since it was the East Side, but come to think of it, didn't they sail up the Hudson? Weird.)

And we must have gone out into the madness, because I have photos, but I don't remember it.

trisha said...

On the bank of the Great Miami River.

Your story is better.

outsidemymind said...

Our whole family and family friends went into the city..(yes the only city that counts! NYC)..
we had spent the day watching the bigships on the hudson than down to the docks and off to watch the fireworks...what an amazing day...people from all over the world roaming the streets of nyc...

Sharon said...

Wow! I can't believe you asked. Every 4th I think about July 4th, 1976.

I was 5. We lived in Governor's Island, NY. We watched the fireworks from the top of our apartment building. They were fired from Ellis Island and a few even from the crown of Lady Liberty.

To this day it's the most awesome fireworks show I've ever seen.

Somehow it even tops the 2000 show I got to see from the Mall in D.C.

Alena said...

July 4, 1976... I was happily ensconced in my mom's belly. She would have been about five months pregnant with me.. I'm a bicentennial baby. :)