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Rose Parade 1976 - Were You There?
I Miss Seeing The Rose Parade In Person
In my youth New Year's Eve always brought with it the excitement of knowing that the following morning we would be standing at the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevards to witness firsthand the Rose Parade. When my fellow Utahans hear me brag about the Rose Parade, they just roll their eyes in disbelief of how wonderful I describe the event. When my Utah friends and neighbors think of parades they think of Orem Summerfest, Provo's Freedom Festival, and Salt Lake City's Days of 47. And while these parades are nice, they are barely one's and two's on the scale of ten.
The Rose Parade is an extravaganza, it is huge and over the top, and it is just plain beautiful!!!
I think back to my last time attending when I was still living in Highland Park, California. The year was 1976 and I was mid-way through my 9th grade year at Washington Irving Junior High School. The UCLA Bruins were set to play Ohio State in the Rose Bowl later in the day, and I was a powder blue and gold Bruins fan. NOTE: Most of my friends and classmates were die hard red and gold USC Trojans fans. At school, before the Christmas break I can remember paying my dollar to be in the betting pool, much like the ones that my Mom and Dad had at their work in Pasadena at Ralph M. Parsons. I was thrilled because my first two years at Irving I had to endure while USA played against Ohio State each of those school years, and now my Bruins were the Big Daddies of the Pac 10. In 1974 and 1975 USC had split the victories with Ohio State, but in 1976 the Buckeyes came into the game undefeated and the UCLA Bruins cleaned house with a 24-10 victory.... Go Bruins!!!
GETTING TO THE ROSE PARADE
Getting to the Rose Parade was always an event in itself. Driving from Highland Park, California found us getting near the Rose Bowl stadium and then walking the rest of the way. That wasn't good enough for my Dad. Since our family was a member of the Foothill Cycle Club there were a few years where we got on our 10-speeds and rode to the parade, and 1976 was one of those years. Dad never would have gone to an event like that if we didn't ride out bikes.Why? My Dad has never been a public event kind of man. In fact, Dad always shunned large groups of people and extravaganza type of events. Isn't it strange that the only time I can remember doing big public things was when it involved either sailing or biking.
FLASHBACK - BIKE RIDES WITH DAD
I can remember going to the movies with may Dad on just two occasions. Both involved riding our 10-speeds from Highland Park, California to Hollywood, California. The Pantages Theater must have been Dad's idea of opulence because that is where we watched the historic movie "Tora, Tora, Tora!" The blockbuster was originally released in September of 1970 when I was just 9 years old, but we were not heavily into biking when I was nine. It must have been re-released when I was about 13 because I remember Dad and I climbing on our bikes and riding to Hollywood to watch it in the big theater.
Shortly after I graduated ninth grade at Washington Irving Junior High School, both Dad and I rode to Hollywood again. I remember it being the Egyptian Theater and we watched "Murder By Death." Dad loved Humphrey Bogart in"The Maltese Falcon" and adored Peter Falk in the great TV series "Columbo", so a detective type movie suddenly became something Dad wanted to go and see. I have no idea if Dad liked comedies, or if he ever saw another Neil Simon type play/movie, because Dad never let his feelings or thoughts be known. His way of showing love or even displaying personal interest in us kids was to climb on a bicycle and ride somewhere with you. Very little dialogue was ever entered into on those rides, and yet there were hundreds of them. Instead, it was whatever the experience was that we were doing that became the memory. And yet, we spent quite a bit of time together as a Father and a son, yet talking was rarely part of the adventures. I doubt that Dad ever really did get to know me as a young man. And I have always felt that it was not even in his DNA to even care on that level. Sad, but true...
ATTENDING THE ROSE PARADE
I love the Rose Parade because of the roses and the artistic visions that are realized by the use of all of the flowers that are created. There is no colored paper stapled onto wood and cardboard like in our local parades. Every feature is created with some part of a growing plant. And with all of those flowers comes an incredible floral aroma. The floats are separated by lots of marching bands and riders on horseback in highly decorated saddles and tack. But none of that matters because there is no way to verbally describe attending the Rose parade. The best I can hope for is that my positive comments affords my friends the opportunity to one day agree to see the parade in person. When they do, they will never again think the same way about parades!
ROSE PARADE 1976 - Were you there???
Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah