Thursday, January 1, 2015

3 blocks from the Rose Parade...

That's where I grew up... 3 blocks south of the Pasadena Rose Parade.

I've been sitting here this morning watching the parade, and it takes me right back to South Parkwood Avenue. 

Every year my dad would take 2 ladders, and the 3 of us kids brought a long piece of wood. We went right up those 3 blocks and got one of the 'good seats', just a few rows back. Dad set the ladders up and put the long board between them That was our seat, no one blocked our view. It was perfect!

A side thought... many many years later, after dad had died, as we went through their things, there was that original ladder, with many splotches of paint colors applied through the years, and a little shabby, but the same ladder that went to the parade every year.

During high school, I worked on the floats a few days before the parade. They were constructed in huge ice cold warehouses, to make sure the flowers stayed fresh. The flowers were flown in from all over the world and they were absolutely amazing! Each float was carefully put together and then each flower petal glued on to become part of the design, the only rule was it had to be made from growing plants, petals, seeds, grasses. We shivered all through the nights as we put those beauties together.

New Years Eve in Pasadena was so much fun! Our church youth group parked and walked the long main street of Colorado Blvd., as the crowds began to gather 2-3 days before New Years Day. By New Years Eve, they had set up little kerosene heaters, sleeping bags and blankets to keep warm, as they 'camped out' right on the sidewalk. We walked up and down the street, talking to people, dashing into one of the restaurants for a quick burger, and having the time of our lives. Van de Kamp's, Gwinn's, Scarantino's, all of them were open as people came in an out all through the night.

Finally we headed for home, only to take our walk up the street with dad early the next morning, we were tired and excited.

It never disappointed. Even this morning, I am enjoying the floats and marching bands, just like so many years ago...

Happy New Year to all of you!


Vee said...

I am glad that you shared your memories of the Pasadena Parade. I forgot all about watching today and didn't realize until you mentioned it. I love the idea of your dad making such a special way for you to enjoy the parade. I also enjoyed reading about the ministry that went on prior to the parade and the discussion about working on the floats was very interesting. Happy 2015!

Farm Girl said...

Not to mention being in your warm house. It would have been cold there today.
Happy New Year.

Lea said...

What a sweet memory and I love that he made y'all the "best seat in the house" out of ladders and a board. How ingenious! Happy New Year!!!

Debbie Petras said...

I loved reading your memories of the parade. I sent a link of this post to my aunt who lives in La Crescenta, CA. She has friends who live in Pasadena and they always go to the parade too. I thought she might be familiar with some of the places you mentioned.

Happy New Year!

Love you,

Janette Wright said...

I love this for many reasons. Today we got up and downloaded the live parade in London. The Alumni Longhorn Band was marching in the parade. My husband wasn't able to go, but friends went. Then on to the Rose Parade, which he also marched in as a member of the Longhorn band. That is two reasons I loved this and the other is I want to write more of my story this year..which you always do such a beautiful job of doing. What a treasure you are leaving for all of us.

Sharon said...

My dad's parents lived on Orange Grove Blvd. So I have some really good memories going over there, bright and early (well, at least early) to see the floats in the *staging area*. Everything smelled so good!

Years later, I went once with our church group and spent a very long and cold overnight on the parade route - (fell asleep during most of the parade!) But, most years my dad got tickets to sit in the stands next to his bank branch. That was so much fun.

Watched the parade this morning, and though I couldn't smell the flowers, I had plenty of fond memories to warm my heart!

Van de Kamp's and Gwinn's - oh Sonja!! Blast from the past!

Happiest New Year to my favorite *Warrior* sister!


Saleslady371 said...

This is also my girlfriend, Lori's, story who grew up with similar memories. I love hearing about such an exciting event; must have been wonderful to be a kid in this neighborhood! Thank you, also, for your friendship, Sonja! Happy New Year.

Debbie said...

Loved reading about your memories of the parade. What a neat thing your dad did for all of you. I ALWAYS wanted to go to the parade but my parents never wanted to hassle the crowds. I would have loved it. Looking back I wish we'd have take out kids at least once.

Wishing you and yours a very happy 2015!

manthano said...

Grew up in Glendora just East of there.
You brought back a lot of memories.

May you enjoy many a New Year to come.

Sassy Granny ... said...

I am always blessed when you summon your memories. They are so much like my own.

Terry & I lived a brief while (2003/2004) in Alta Loma and occasionally made our way to Pasadena. I've no doubt it was a great play to call "home" as a child.

A blessed new year to you, sweet friend! I love you dearly & thank God for planting you in my garden.


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I haven't taken time to watch a parade in years. Being here tonight, I think I just did! What a fun memory to recall. Your dad really went the extra mile for you and your siblings. It's a good thing to reflect and remember.

Happy New Year! May 2015 be filled with many new experiences laced in a strong, ancient faith.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Dear, dear Sonja,

I had NO IDEA you grew up in Pasadena. I grew up in South Central L.A. and from our house, we could see the San Gabriel mountains. My father would tell me the story about how one Christmas, it snowed in Pasadena. Once in a while, we'd travel up Rosemead Blvd (my cousins lived in Pico Rivera on Rosemead) and I'd imagine what it would be like for it to snow up that way. The first time I ever went to work on the floats was in high school, and I remember those cold warehouses! And my first time as a teen to go watch the parade. We were told to wear heavy clothing, lots of socks, keep warm. Now as a resident of Minneapolis, I think back on how chilly it was that day in Pasadena, and it was like HEAT WAVE compared to HERE! But oh, the memories you have brought me today!

Thank you so much for coming by to visit. I wish you a blessed year of more goodness, memory making and JOY! PEACE TO YOU! Anita

Just a little something from Judy said...

Thank you so much for sharing bits of your unique and so interesting memories. I love that you were there, and that you filled us in on all the fun details. I wish you could sit for hours and listen to all your memories of the parade. I like your dad's ingenuity too, with the ladder and the wood. What fun!

Wishing you God's richest blessings in the year ahead! You are a blessing to all of us.

Barbara said...

Thank you, that is awesome, hope you have a happy new year...

Rebecca said...

Ahhhhhhhhh. I'm remembering a few days spent in P. at a conference on Prayer in a church near Fuller Seminary. We walked to the campus to eat a meal or two, etc. Someone pointed out the marks on the street where the Parade was routed!

Ines RdP said...
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