When you're young the Holidays seem eternal, unchanging. Your parents are there, encouraging the traditions, making it seem like they've been passed down though the ages.
I was in my late teens when I learned that our image of Santa Claus was formed in the last hundred years, and the version of Christmas I knew was mostly a post WWII invention. My Mom made huge stockings, and filled a box with more, and it wasn't until much later in life that I learned this was HER tradition more than anyone else.
Anyway, I think that the Fourth of July was a much smaller thing, in some ways, when I was a kid. Maybe a bit more of a community event down at Drake Park. I still remember the big floats, and Burl Ives playing music. But the neighborhood fireworks? A few sprinklers, maybe.
Meanwhile, Halloween was a MUCH bigger deal -- at least for kids. Not so much for adults. Every neighborhood was inundated with little trick and treaters, sometimes -- gasp -- unaccompanied past about six or seven years old. Maybe younger. No fear.
Of course, some of this is colored by my age and by not having kids or grandkids who enjoy these holidays the most. But I'm pretty sure that the 4th of July has become way noisier.
And I'm absolutely positive that the air didn't fill with the smell of gunpowder when I was kid.
5 days ago