Happy Independence Day!

Happy birthday, America!

The ScootaDoot Chicks love a good party. And what better summer holiday celebration than July 4? Fireworks, parades, food … sounds like heaven!

We’ve rounded up the Chicks and asked each to share special holiday childhood memories with you. One Chick couldn’t make the chat party but wishes you a happy holiday. She’s having a blast making new holiday memories with loved ones.

MER

When I was small, the days seemed longer. My family and I would spend the majority of the summer at our swim club and on the fourth of July, we’d participate in special events there. Swim races, finding coins on the bottom of the pool, water balloon tosses, bounce houses and cotton candy.

Memorial Day weekend was when the pool club opened but July 4th is when summer was considered to be in full swing. When I was young, time was based on holidays. Now it’s based on waking up and going to bed. The days are fast, no matter what the month or the season, but they are happy.

This is a picture from last year’s 4th of July, one of my favorite days as a mom and quite by accident. The days that stand out to me are the ones where you don’t necessarily have anything planned but everything falls into place. The only thing I had on the agenda last Independence Day was a hot and humid 4 mile race through town and watching the subsequent parade that followed.

It was ridiculously hot so we set up the water slide for the kids. I played lifeguard and they spent hours climbing up the back wall and sliding down together. Over and over. We were out there for hours. We barbecued on the grill and then randomly decided to wander over to our town’s fireworks display. Pooks had always been very frightened of loud noises but he did beautifully, as did Littleberry.

The days are long for them; they base time on holidays, on birthdays. And days like the 4th of July remind me to slow down, embrace the length of the summer day, and enjoy.

Mer4thofJuly

The Berries enjoy the water slide last July 4.

CAM

As a kid, I spent the 4th on my street with sparklers. As a young adult, I began spending the 4th with my best friend Jason and his family at the river. We stayed in Cottonwood Cove but would drive in to Laughlin, Nevada to sit on the grass and watch the big fireworks show. The rest of the weekend was spent on the river, attempting to water ski or playing bumper tubes. We celebrated our country by jumping from cliffs into the sparkling blue of the Colorado River and hiking in the heat of the Arizona sun. Since I’ve had children, it’s been more difficult to get back to the river for the 4th, but these trips are among my most cherished memories.

Cam4thCam’s river montage

BROOKE

My Fourth of July memories involve swimming at my grandparents’ house and lighting fireworks in the street. We rarely ventured out to any celebration because there wasn’t one in our city at the time, and the others were so crowded.

My husband LOVES fireworks (Shouty caps are totally necessary). Before we had kids, we always threw a huge party; complete with margarita machine, some of my favorite baked goodies and the best fireworks we could find.

Brooke4th

Brooke and her then-fiance Josh at their July 4 party in 2006.

VIC

Most of my childhood Independence Days were spent at the Sweetest Place on Earth. You got it, chocolate-lovers. We went to Hersheypark!

As young kids, my sister and I raced into the park, jumped on the kiddie rides in Carousel Circle, the now-defunct Giant Wheel and begged our parents to let us ride the park’s famous looping coaster, the sooperdooperlooper. (Fun Fact: It was the first looping coaster on the East Coast when it opened in the mid-70s.) We were never allowed because “we might fall out,” according to my father. We both secretly sneaked rides when dad wasn’t around.

As teens, we scoffed at the ‘looper and set our sights on far more thrilling rides – newer and faster roller coasters like the Sidewinder, spinning thrill rides and water rides galore. We played arcade games – yeah Skee Ball! – skipped out on shows, and searched out friends with summer jobs at the park.

We always went as part of my father’s annual company picnic, so the day included a BBQ cookout inside the park, ice cream and Hershey-themed door prizes. One year ALL FOUR OF US won door prizes!

And because my parents didn’t waste a penny, we went rain or shine. I recall one year, when I was 11 or 12, when we braved a constant downpour and walked onto every ride imaginable. Until the thunder and lightning arrived that is.

The day always ended at dusk, “one last ride,” (usually on the Tilt-a-Whirl) and fireworks. And of course, we ate some chocolate.

vic4thFive-year-old Vic on the bumper cars in Hersheypark

JESS

Every important (and non-important) event happened at my grandma’s house. It was someone’s birthday? Let’s all meet at Gram’s. Christmas? Gram’s. Third Thursday of the week? Dinner at Gram’s house!

When I think back to the summers when I was little, I think about ice-cold veggies and ranch dip, about my grandpa’s “bullet burgers” (they were so overcooked that they were hard as bullets). I think about about doing hand stands and somersaults in the pool with my cousin, Charity. I can almost smell the chlorine and feel the heat of the pavement we stretched out on to warm up after what felt like HOURS of swimming.

If I close my eyes hard enough, I can hear the adults – I use that term loosely! – laughing and yelling because inevitably someone was trying to push someone else into the pool. All of that was the soundtrack to my childhood.

I don’t remember a specific 4th of July at my grandma’s house, but I know that we were there. Where else would we have been?

jess4thUncle Rob gives little Jess a boost in the pool

Do you have any special July 4 memories? How do you plan to spend Independence Day this year? However you choose to celebrate, the Chicks hope you have a wonderful holiday!

4 thoughts on “Happy Independence Day!

  1. As a very little kid, my dad spent summers as a chef at summer camps, so I spent my day with hundreds of older girls playing silly camp games, then we’d go watch fireworks. When I got a little older, my entire family got together at the lake eating, swimming, going out in the boat. I don’t ever remember going home, so I must have always fallen asleep on the dock and my parents would throw me in the car.

    I’ve had pretty boring ones recently, so I look forward to having a group of friends in Philly that will love BBQs and games all day ๐Ÿ™‚

    • A chef at a summer camp! That’s awesome – was it a sleep away camp or day?

      I think some of the best times are when you can’t remember how you got home. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Sleep away camp. They were almost all camps for Jewish girls, and most of them came from NYC. Looking back on it, it was strange that they let me do all the camper activities even though I was with “the help” ๐Ÿ™‚

        And yes, those usually are the best nights!

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