Happy Independence Day

July 4, 2010

I have a lot of pleasant 4th-of-July memories, especially of the fireworks show that we used to watch from my grandmother’s backyard.

Her house is located across the street from a park in Montebello, CA. Every year the city would sponsor a fireworks show that would draw a huge crowd to the park. Rather than join the crowd at the park, my aunts, uncles and cousins would place blankets across the lawn of my grandmother’s backyard, look up at the sky and enjoy the show together. It was like VIP seating just for us.

But the most memorable of these SoCal memories occurred on July 4, 1976. This was the day that my parents had decided that we would all move to Fresno.

For some reason our journey began that evening at just around dusk. We had all gathered at my grandmother’s house to say good-by before the 4-hour drive north to our new house. The street in front of my grandmother’s house was filled with cars and people heading towards the park for the fireworks display. I can still remember feeling conflicted between the realization that we were leaving LA and my disappointment that I would be missing the fireworks show.

Isaac was in the backseat of the car with our dog and I sat in the passenger seat next to my mom. We waved good-by one last time to everyone and I can remember feeling very odd as we slowly pulled away from the curb.

We drove off in silence, following my dad who was driving alone in his blue van ahead of us. As we passed through downtown Los Angeles on the eerily deserted freeway, I can remember seeing fireworks start to go off just beyond the skyline of the city. I looked at my mom and noticed the tears on her face, and then finally realized that I was crying as well. We kind of just cried together all the way over the Grapevine.

So much has changed since that life-changing night with my mom. My grandmother tells me that the city of Montebello no longer sponsors the firework show. And here I am, in Texas, with a bunch of crazy Texans who seem to take the 4th of July very seriously.

I will be spending this holiday at friend’s house on Lake Lewisville. Jet skis, bbq, live music – it’s always a good time at Suvi’s! Happy 4th of July everyone!

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