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Tuesday, July 4, 2000

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Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July! While I didn't like the movie "Patriot" I do know that many people made many sacrifices, including their lives, to give me the freedom that I have and I am very appreciative. I always get a lump in my throat on July 4th. I listened to the reading of the Declaration of Indepence which everyone should not only listen to but read on a regular basis. It's a document that still resonates today and it took real courage to sign it.

I was watching the sailing ships on TV and wished I could be in NYC to see them up close. I've been through a few old sailing ships and am amazed that people could live on something that small for weeks and months on end. They look so beautiful as they float along that it's hard to remember the work that goes into sailing them. I loved one shot of all the sailors hanging from the sails, furling them I was told. I couldn't tell what they were standing on, it looked like they were walking on air.

I finished another mystery "Heading Uptown" by Marissa Piesman which has Nina Fischman as the detective. She is a jewish, New York lawyer who seems to stick her nose in everything. It was a fun read and I enjoyed looking at the world from the perspective of a NYC native. They always think they are so cosmopolitan but don't really have a clue as to how the rest of the world operates and it's interesting to read her take on upstate lifestyles.

I don't remember celebrating July 4th when I was a child except once when we were in Mexico City. It must have been in the 50s or early 60s and we were staying at the Kettle, which was the headquarters in Mexico City. All of us children had gotten hold of a bunch of firecrackers which were cheap and readily available and had a great time setting them off. One kid had a firecracker in his back pocket and someone lit it. It was a triple cracker and he would reach back to get it and it would go off again. I think he had a burn on his rear but nothing serious.

I also remember going to something at the American School (?) on the Fourth but it's just an impression and I can't remember any details. We always got our fireworks later on in July when the little town we lived in had it's fiesta. I remember the fireworks being wonderful and before we got to see the dancers, including one between St. George and the Dragon. Technically it was a Catholic saints day but the dances were a wonderful mixture of pagan and catholic.

At the school I attended in Mexico City one year during eighth grade we all sang the Mexican National Anthem. To this day I can remember the first stanza fairly well. It didn't strike us as unusual since many of us had been born in Mexico and our parents were from several different countries. It wasn't that we forgot we were Americans but that it was the polite thing to do, something the world could use a little of now.

It wasn't till I was working that I really paid attention to July 4th since it was a holiday and I got off work. I took my children to some fireworks displays which were the earliest celebrations in the US I really remember. I still remember Lisa's first time. She was about a year and half and when the first fireworks thundered she went under our picnic blanket and would not come out. All you could see was her rear sticking in the air and quivering every time there was a bang.

Well, I do remember that I was working at the Madison Beach Hotel in Madison, Connecticut the summer of 1966 and the Fourth was the beginning of the summer season there. I don't remember much about celebrations on July 4th but I do vividly remember going to see the Beatles in NYC later that summer though I can't think of the guy's name who took me. Memories are so selective. I can see some of the people from that some vividly and others are a blur. I remember the people, just not their names or what most of them look like, just an impression of them. It was a great summer.

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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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