The wander project is about sharing memories. Often, they are my memories and don’t always coincide with those of my family. Hence the occasional modifications of what is shared. My youngest (by youngest I am supposed to say significantly younger than I am) used to work for a company that had an office facing the main North bound drag of Bloomington (College Avenue). Its interesting that it is named College, because it is one of the few streets on the West side of Bloomington that doesn’t actually touch part of campus. We would, as you can see from the picture sit outside that office and the entire family would enjoy the 4th of July parade. Memories of those parades are something I treasure. First off watching the girls prepare for the parade was always fun. Sometimes it was sunny (and really really hot) sometimes it rained (but luckily was still really really hot). But it was always the entire family (well almost always entire, sometimes Dad skipped the event and stayed home cooking).
Every Fourth of July, St. Patrick’s day, Thanksgiving day, Rose Bowl new years day parade has the same theme. Old cars, fire trucks and floats. Oh year don’t forget the marching bands. Bloomington is really two cities. It is the city that hosts Indiana University. Or the other way around. For 9 months of the year the city and the University are wound together always and inseparable. There are times that the University is frustrated by the reality of small towns. For example there is no traffic in Bloomington so to speak. The worst case you will run into of traffic is around the IU Athletics facility. Then you will experience Chicago or Seattle type traffic. You won’t experience New York, L.A. or DC type traffic but its bad for a time. I suspect at that moment the university regrets being in a small town without the infrastructure to support the traffic. The town, I suspect also has moments like that. A sewage system that has capacity changes of roughly the size of the entire town. But for the most part the two co-exist happily. They are simpatico and have similar goals.
July is a time when the University, normally between 30-40 thousand students is down to 10-15 thousand students. It is the peak of Summer II in the college. Most of the students have wandered off to their homes. So the town is less congested and less of a small city, more of a small Indiana town. It is an interesting transition you see and feel every year. By mid-August the students begin again to arrive and the city changes back to a University town. So perhaps the 4th of July parade is more than simply a celebration. After all, the actual date is July 2nd. The signed document sitting for two days before announcements were made. The biggest 4th of July parade in Bloomington was 1976. That of course to be expected. But each year the parade was a moment in time where we were all together. It is also an event that you can enjoy. Sitting by the side of the road and watching the many pieces of the parades. If you are smart, you can pick a spot that allows you to get in and out quickly avoiding traffic as well!