The 4th of July has always been special to me. I was born just a few days before, on the same day as my grandpa. Our birthdays, and later just mine, turned into a week long celebration. Some of my best childhood memories were made during this time of parades, parties and fireworks.
The home I grew up in was on the main street in a small ocean town, right across from the water. The view was to die for. The house, a Queen Anne Victorian, a masterpiece. It had a turret, original stained glass windows, chandeliers and the most spectacular staircase. It was flawed for modern living though, as all old houses are. There was no family room, no master bath, the washing machine was housed in my brother’s room, and its formality wasn’t ideal for young kids. But, once a year, for celebrating our countries independence, it was perfection.
The fireworks were set off from a barge directly across from our house. For a dinky little town, we sure knew how to put on a firework display. Each year was fantastic and our porch was the prime location for watching them. My parents would have parties, ranging from large to small. We’d pile on and look below at the folks who had to settle for a street view, vendor’s hot dogs and folding lawn chairs. We ate delicious food, wrapped ourselves in blankets and felt like the rich and famous for a night. I’ll never forget the sight of the bright colors dancing in the sky or the loud bangs as they exploded above “our” beach. It was the best night of the year.
A few short years after I left my childhood home for college, my parents divorced and sold the house. My childhood wasn’t perfect, but somehow that house represents all things good to me. The year our house was sold, the fireworks combined with the next town over and are now set off there. It gives me closure knowing we were the last family to celebrate with that view.
Every year at this time I feel like a little girl again. I long for my home town. I long for the beach, the fireworks and my whole family. I now have the daunting task of building 4th of July memories for my kids. I’ll try, knowing it will be hard to beat what I had.