Sunday, January 1, 2012

My Family and the Rose Parade

My mother's family, the Forgeys, settled in Southern California in 1925. My Nicaraguan grandmother, Graciela Del Castillo-Forgey was able to integrate into American culture very quickly. The Hispanic heritage of California was familiar to her too. She loved American holidays which she celebrated heartily.
In the late twenties my Forgey Grandparents moved to Glendale, California close to the Rose Parade city of Pasadena. My grandmother became acquainted with a float designer for the City of Glendale. My grandmother loved attending the parade. During the Depression the Parade was great free entertainment. My grandmother's husband and children didn't always share her enthusiasm for the parade. Even way back then the traffic around the parade route was bad. My grandfather drove there once, but was very annoyed by the traffic and would not go again. You have to get there early or camp out to get a good view. It can be very cold and uncomfortable waiting for the parade. My mother didn't enjoy all of these inconveniences either, but often accompanied her mother like a dutiful daughter. My mother did enjoy the 1939 parade when she saw Shirley Temple in person. Shirley Temple shares my mother's birthday.
My Kapple family came to California after WII. My father Robert Kapple would send a copy of the Rose Parade program to his Great Aunt Sister Mary Kathleen (Bridget) Mullen who worked at a Catholic Girls boarding School in Chicago, Illinois. She would look at it with the students who enjoyed a great deal as I hear.
I collected the souvenir programs as a teenager. My family would often take a ride on New Year's Eve along the parade route. We would only move at about a snails pace along Colorado so I could purchase a program while waiting for the traffic to move. I enjoyed seeing the crowds camping out and celebrating. Our car would get pelted with dried marshmallows which sounded like hail hitting the car, and silly string. On the way home we sometimes caught a glimpse of the floats be moved to the parade site.
We did attend the parade once. It was fun but pretty exhausting. We generally would just go to see the floats  when they were parked. It used to be free. You would have to pay to park close. We always parked on someones front lawn across the street. That was a big money making opportunity for local residents; having people park on their property for $5 or $10. It usually took about an hour in traffic to get to the  float viewing area. Heading home it would look like a tornado hit Colorado Blvd. with old couches (used by parade viewers) and trash everywhere.
It was fun though and they are even more beautiful in person.

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