I hope everyone had a great 4th of July. I had a great time visiting my cousin and his wife and swimming.
I was going to write about the lack luster NBA draft, or how David Wright got shafted when Pablo Sandoval was selected to the All-Star game. Nah with the passing of July 4th yesterday, I feel like going down memory lane.
360 degrees of 4th of July
Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, we lived in the projects in East New York on Wortman Avenue (215 Wortman Avenue to be exact). For 7-years, as soon as school ended, my parents would rent a bungalow for 2 months on 32nd street in Far Rockaway, Queens.
My parents would go to the bungalow, open the windows to air-it-out, while they moved our stuff into our summer home. Once it was set up my folks would take my sister and I there. This is where we stayed for the summer. This is where I watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon in 1969. It was here that we spent our July 4th with friends and family for an all day-early evening of barbeque, fun in the sun, and swimming in the ocean and watching the fire works, and even setting off some fireworks myself. We had a great time and it was always the same people from different parts of New York renting for the summer. Even though it was located in New York City, it never really felt like it. It felt like we were far, far away for the most populated city in the nation.
Our summers changed when my folks moved into a townhouse in Brooklyn. Gone were the summers in Far Rockaway and replaced by an occasional trip to Coney Island and the beach. But by then Coney Island was a shell of itself. No steeple chase, no parachute jump, boardwalk rotting. It was going to shit. I do remember going when the steeple chase was open. It was great. You would be put on a ceramic horse and compete with other kids as the horses raced around the building. It was awesome. All that was taken apart by Mayor John Lindsey to build low rent apartments. Our 4th of July was replaced with staying home as dad did the grilling and mom made the deserts. We would play with the kids in the neighborhood. Sometimes we would go visit family and have fun, but mostly we stayed home.
I joined the Navy on December 7, 1976, and spent my first 4th away from my parents. I had new friends to hang around with, but celebrating the holiday on the USS Eisenhower without family was a downer. The following year, my Mom and Dad, sister, grandmother, cousin and Aunt came to visit me on the ship. It was fun. I gave them a tour of the newest Navy vessel in the fleet. But since then, during the rest of my military career. Between Norfolk, VA, Virginia Beach, VA, Jacksonville, Fl. (Two occasions), Washington DC and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (by myself) I usually spent a quiet July 4th with my wife and son. My wife you cook dinner and my son and I would go outside and play. We then would sit in the living room and watch the fireworks on TV.
My 4th of July went full circle once I mentioned to my mom and dad that I was retiring in Jacksonville, Fl., and they moved down here. So did my sister and her family. My cousin and his wife and an Aunt also moved to Jacksonville. Now every 4th of July we celebrate together once again. Itís a great feeling to have family around to celebrate, considering that I missed 20 years of birthdays, family events, anniversaries, several weddings, the death of both my Grandmothers and two uncles.
Thanks for letting me take you down memory lane with me. Kind of makes me homesick for Brooklyn.
I leave you with this song that always gives me goose bumps