Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Thanksgiving Day Parade Pictorial History, the 1920s and 1930s

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is an annual parade presented by the U.S.-based department store chain Macy's. The tradition started in 1924, tying it for the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States with America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit (with both parades being four years younger than the 6abc Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia). The three-hour Macy's event is held in New York City starting at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Thanksgiving Day, and has been televised nationally on NBC since 1952.

In the 1920s, many of Macy's department store employees were first-generation immigrants. Proud of their new American heritage, they wanted to celebrate the American holiday of Thanksgiving with the type of festival their parents had loved in Europe.

In 1924, the annual Thanksgiving parade started by Louis Bamberger in Newark, New Jersey at the Bamberger's store was transferred to New York City by Macy's. In New York, the employees marched to Macy's flagship store on 34th Street dressed in vibrant costumes. There were floats, professional bands and live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. At the end of that first parade, as has been the case with every parade since, Santa Claus was welcomed into Herald Square. At this first parade, however, the Jolly Old Elf was enthroned on the Macy's balcony at the 34th Street store entrance, where he was then "crowned" "King of the Kiddies." With an audience of over 250,000 people, the parade was such a success that Macy's declared it would become an annual event.



Friday, November 6, 2015

In a pile of leaves

Do children today still play in leaf piles?
Sometimes I wonder how many kids even play outside anymore, and I choose not to think how the vast majority spend their time indoors. In these days of Reality T.V. and lax FCC rules one can't help but look back fondly on those days spent outside just playing, and exploring the world outside. Letting your imagination construct your games, and riding your bike until dusk. Dusk, because you had to be home by dark.
I remember my friend and I playing "Pirates" with sticks, and of course "Cowboys and Indians", or just running around in the woods, hunting for the unknown! I also remember that my brothers and I had a "go-cart". Taking turns riding it in the alley. Back then it seemed as if we played all day, every day. We would have never have thought to just sit inside, unless we had to because of the rain.
There were chores that we had to do around the house, and I don't recall being paid for it. If we needed money for candy, me, my siblings, and friends would walk around the block collecting empty soda bottles to turn in to the neighborhood grocery store. There were always bottles to be found, and you really didn't need that many to buy a decent amount of candy.
School was a whole different atmosphere as well. You dressed neatly because your appearance reflected your family, and because your mom said so. You behaved, because if you didn't there was a price to pay. I once had a teacher tell my mom to instruct me to raise my hand when I had a question rather than going up and tapping her on the shoulder (which was startling her).
It's 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are? It was a popular question used as a public service announcement (PSA) for parents on American television. Its heyday was throughout the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s. It was first launched by a small ABC affiliate in upstate New York, and it worked. I would hate to tell you how many kids I see now running around past curfew, and I wonder where the parents are.
We had a bedtime. We had rules...
Make your bed.
Never call anyone after 9
Put your dirty clothes in the hamper.
Put your plate in the sink after eating.
We took turns doing dishes. There were 5 of us.
Don't leave the house without permission.
Take a bath, comb your hair, brush your teeth, shine your shoes.
Occasionally we would get to go to a Drive in Theater. That was a treat. Speaking of treats... Every once in a while we would be allowed to buy an ice cream from the Ice cream Man. I don't remember that many "fast food" meals, but we all remember liver night, blah! Even considering the liver (which the dog loved), I think it was a great time to be a kid.

I would be so happy if you would take the time to comment, and share your memories. Flying kites, sledding in the snow, school plays, we have all done them. I am sure that there are still parents out there making fond memories for their children, just as I am sure that those in the future will do the same. I hope you have enjoyed this little trip down Memory Lane, and please come back soon for more. - David