Growing up 4th of July was about spending the day at CPE (Cerritos Park East) eating lots of food and playing games. All my memories of 4th of July include all the people (family & friends) who I grew up with which sounds just about right because I remember there being a huge group of us taking over whatever small patch of grass was available. The park fields were packed! Lucky for us there were sidewalks between the fields of grass to safely maneuver around the herds of people.
Blankets, tents, sleeping bags, chairs, pillows…you name it we had it with us to insure it was a comfie day. Through out the afternoon all the families were loud, obnoxious and enjoying family time. Whether it was us desi’s playing rounds and rounds of Kho, cards, tossing around a ball or people bumping music on their boom boxes – there was very slim chances of you being able to get a nap in with all the noise. The park itself had a band playing somewhere in the distance as well. We always managed to sit far away from that area but always would end up walking past it at the end of the night when the whole park seemed to be exiting through only one area.
The most amazing part of the night was those 15 minutes or so before it was pitch black. All of us cousins found our comfie spots, usually huddled under one blanket (you would think after the years and years of doing this we would bring extra blankets). And then when the first fire cracker was launched into the sky…babies stopped crying, the parents stopped shouting, the kids stopped fighting over the blanket…the crowd went silent. All you could hear was the echo of the last cracker and the spiraling up of the next one.
After each cracker there would be a…”ooooooo” or an ….”aaaaaah” as we voiced our favorites in sync like a choir. The firecrackers would go on for about 15 or 20 minutes and we anxiously awaited the grand finale when the sky filled with colorful splatters and really loud consecutive “kabooms”.
It was funny seeing how synchronous it was to see the grand finale and immediately after the rise in commotion as if that was the pistol shooting into the sky saying…”go!!!” Immediately blankets were folded, coolers were packed, kids were wrapped and it was time to rush through the crowds (who were all going to the same haulted car jam) to get to the cars.
Each year I think…this 4th of July will be just like the one I always reminisce about! But those summer days in the park were because of those little kids huddled under the blankets yanking for cover. Thank you for the memories America…happy birthday!