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A Fond Fourth

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credit: Sherri R. Camp/Shutterstock.com

Happy birthday to America this week!

Many of our readers fondly recall celebrating our nation's birthday in their Good Old Days. Every year our July/August issue contains stories that hark back to the time when families and friends would gather for fun, food and maybe even fireworks (if they were lucky).

For our family, the Fourth of July meant a picnic in the park with my parents' friends and all of their kids. Mom packed a giant picnic basket with hamburgers and hot dogs for my dad to cook on the charcoal grill, potato chips (which we never had at any other time), a juicy watermelon and other necessities for our outing. At the park, one of the dads would plant an American flag in the ground near our gathering spot, and the fun began. We kids (usually no less than 20 of us, all clad in red, white and blue) ran wild through trails and fields in the park while the parents prepared the meal and tapped into the drinks. We were ravenous by the time we filled our plates and plopped down on blankets to devour the special summer fare. The crowning glory of the meal, however, came at the end: homemade ice cream! Someone had been dutifully cranking a machine all afternoon to produce the best-tasting ice cream I have ever tasted (or will ever taste).

Soon the lightning bugs appeared, and then it was dark enough to break out the sparklers. There were no majestic fireworks displays anywhere close to our rural home, but we didn't care. A box or two of cheap sparklers fit the bill for us. When it was time to go home, we loaded into our station wagon, tired, sunburned and mosquito-bitten, but oh-so-content, as only kids on the Fourth of July in the Good Old Days could be.

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

What was your favorite summer gathering like when you were growing up? Was it a picnic? A family reunion? A Fourth of July celebration? We want to hear about it! Send a brief response to me at Editor@GoodOldDaysMagazine.com, and it could appear in a future update or in Good Old Days magazine! Below are several email responses from the May 23 update questions: What was your favorite baseball team when you were a kid? Did you ever get to see a game in person?

Pat Veretto shared this baseball memory: "My favorite baseball team when I was growing up was the New York Yankees. It was mine because it was Mom's, and it was hers because her 'hometown boy' Mickey Mantle played for them. We lived in Wyoming but she grew up just outside of Tulsa, Okla., near where Mickey was born.

"When I was a teenager, we had a TV and baseball games were always on Saturday afternoons. Mom would make hamburgers and a big jar of tea, and we were otherwise on our own until the game was over. The Yankees had a deep rivalry with the Brooklyn Dodgers before they became the Los Angeles Dodgers, and when those games were being played, we knew not to disturb her at all. We older kids took care of the younger kids without being asked, and we often sat and watched with Mom. I think that's where it got in my blood; baseball is a big thing in our family. We knew all about players like Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Don Larsen, Don Drysdale, Pee Wee Reese and Roy Campanella.

"Now, I watch the Rockies team because I am in Colorado. My kids were lucky enough to be able to go to a live game but the love of baseball never really passed down to them. It's a shame." Ruth Harbaugh shared, "I am also from Ohio and the Cincinnati Reds are my favorite team. I was fortunate to go to the games with my dad and mom, and then later on with my nephews. My greatest memory was to see Hank Aaron get his 3,000th hit at Crosley Field."

An anonymous reader told us: "When I was a young boy, I spent the summers with my grandparents. My grandfather loved his Detroit Tigers, and we would listen to the games on an old transistor radio while we played dominoes and Grandma made cookies. It's one of my fondest childhood memories."


Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.


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