Editorial: Palisades Fourth Needs Your Support

Seven months pregnant and already at the stage when I couldn’t tie my shoes, I learned in late June that my husband would be out of town on the Fourth of July in 1993.

At the time, we were living in West Los Angeles with no family in the area. I tried to invite friends over so that my 19-month-old daughter and I wouldn’t be alone, but everyone already had plans.

Feeling sorry for myself, I put on flip-flops, and Shelby and I went for a walk. She pushed her stroller, and I shuffled along behind her. I ran into the Dalys, a family that lived down the block. Deidre said that they were going to visit her husband Sean’s parents in Pacific Palisades to watch the parade and that I was more than welcome to join them.

She gave me the address and made me promise I would come. My daughter and I left late, because lunch accidentally ended up on the floor. The house alarm wouldn’t set, which was necessary because a neighbor had taken to dumping buckets of sewage in our alleyway (another story), and I couldn’t find the keys.

When we finally reached Chautauqua, traffic was backed up and Sunset was already closed off. It was then I realized I had left Deidre’s in-laws’ address back at the house, which was near the Santa Monica Airport.

There was no way I was going to turn around and go back, so I just pulled into a street somewhere in the Huntington neighborhood. I took Shelby out of the car seat and we walked a few blocks north. We stumbled across the parade, just as an elephant came by.

The street was lined with people and I gave up any hope of ever finding the Dalys. Then a strange thing happened. We seemed to blend into a gathering on Toyopa, the last stretch of the parade route.

I was offered a chair, which I was happy to accept. Someone found a juice box for my daughter. It was as if we were adopted on that day in 1993. The Tennessee Williams line from Streetcar, “I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers” came to mind.

We weren’t alone, we were part of a neighborhood, and it felt so good that day. The people who shared their community helped me more than they could ever realize. I never did find the Dalys that day, but I did find good people and they seemed to be everywhere.

When my husband returned from his trip, I told him I wanted to live in the Palisades. A year later, in 1994, we moved to this community with my daughter and son. Our family hasn’t missed a Fourth of July parade since. We’ve decorated floats, marched with pups, rode bikes and carried banners.

What if this parade went away? Some residents would perhaps travel to see smaller parades in Santa Monica and Westchester. Others would probably just stay around home to host a barbecue or visit friends. It would still be the Fourth of July.

But, here’s what we would be missing. The opportunity to see people we don’t normally socialize with. The oppor- tunity to be part of something bigger. The Fourth of July parade is like a giant pep rally that pulls us all together. A community united through friendship and patriotism.

No matter what school your kids go to, we all cheer when the PPBA World Series kids come through. We all applaud the Patriotic Pups and we all wait anxiously to see if the skydivers will land on their feet at Sunset and Swarthmore.

This year, consider either sending a donation to the parade organizing committee (visit www.palisadesparade.org) or volunteering your time through PAPA People at the parade or the group that organizes the concert and fireworks show. This is the best day of the year in Pacific Palisades— help take responsibility for maintaining the tradition.

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