Monday, June 30, 2014

Summer Fun: History on Parade

Due to connections and being in the right place at the right time, we were in a parade!  Our town float needed some "colonials" to flesh out its march through history.  And, well, I can easily be a colonial.  Plus I have two colonial kids.  So, there we were, dressed to the nines--Bud in his vest, Sis in her pink colonial gown, and I in my favorite "Jacobean print" bodice with blue and red skirts, plus my mob cap and straw hat--on a float parading in town.

I'd never been in a parade before; it wasn't even on my so-called bucket list of life wishes (I don't actually have one of those, but I do have ideas of things I'd like to do.)  I just never figured I'd have the opportunity . . . and then there it was.  


And it was fun!  There was a long wait for our float to join the parade, but then we were moving--definitely more smoothly than I expected--and waving (I didn't need the royal wave, just waved normally) and smiling (it's cliche, but my face did feel frozen after awhile) and throwing candy.  Sis and Bud were really good at throwing candy, aiming for the kids, even noticing when kids with candy pretended they didn't have any or followed us for more.  I was more troubled by the demanding adults who actually approached the float demanding more candy.  Aggressively.  

But I liked waving and smiling, especially to the little kids who waved back.  Lots of adults waved back, too.  And took our pictures.  I'm in hundreds of photos, which rather surprised me.  Who really wanted a picture of our float?  Of EVERY float?  Some people video'd the entire parade.  I mean, I know why Mama took our pictures, but . . . maybe my dress costume was better (or worse) than I thought!

Less comforting thoughts rolled through my head--class issues, race issues, issues of privilege and poverty and even who writes history and controls it and makes it even now.  We were a mostly white-populated float--excepting my two bi-racial half-Asian children--representing a town with known Native American and West African captive populations in the past and a very diverse present.   How could we really purport to be the history of our town?  Especially through a predominantly minority neighborhood?   Especially as they would really benefit from knowing their ancestors' parts in our town's history?  As Mama tells me, most of the police, EMS, and firefighters were white, most of the politicians were white, and most of the floats and marchers, with just a few major exceptions, were white, through a town that is mostly not white.   Not right.

But, I suppose the main point was that we were altogether celebrating and relaxing and cheering together.  And that part we really did enjoy.  

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