Memories of Roses

You have things you regret from your younger days, don’t you? At least the one I want to write about is a very minor regret…

Twenty years ago today, the 102nd annual Tournament of the Roses Parade wound its way one block from our one-bedroom, 1950’s era newlywed apartment in Pasadena, California. While we slept in our bed. Too much of a hassle, crowds everywhere, we’d have to get up early, what’s the big deal…we were young and stupid. One block from our place! The 103rd Rose Parade (and all of them since, I imagine) went within one block of that apartment too, but that year we were in Oregon visiting friends, and by the time the 104th rolled by, we had moved to a new apartment. A golden opportunity missed, as I’m reminded each year on this day. Stupid kids. 🙂

Pushing back even further, the parade was part of my life too–back in the days when our family’s 1977 Mercury Cougar XR7 was brand-spankin’ new and taking us from California to Salem, Oregon each Christmas and New Year’s. (It bore license plate 742 SIH, which I gave to Kathi Inman Berens in 8th or 9th grade. Weird memory, yes, but I have a thing for license plates.) We’d stay at my great-aunt’s house, the one who took the place of her sister, the grandmother I never met. The adults would all stay up till midnight on New Year’s Eve, but I wasn’t allowed. So when they would sleep in the next day, I would have Nina all to myself, on the couch, eating streusel, and watching the Rose Parade. In my memory there was some vague sense of disdain or condescension from my immediate family that I would enjoy such a thing, but it was time with Nina, and I loved it. Indelible memory.

I began this morning curled up on the couch with my youngest, watching the 122nd Tournament of Roses Parade. The first shot of deep blue sky over the San Gabriel Mountains reminded me that January was the best part about living in Southern California all those years ago. I’m not sure it meant anything to Aubrey, but it was proof to me that at this stage of my life, I’m working harder to not let memory-making opportunities march by me while I sleep.

3 thoughts on “Memories of Roses

  1. Sigh, yes. My younger brother had a third floor apartment on Waveland Avenue outside of Wrigley for a full year. I only visited him once there – during the winter. Sigh.


  2. Aww, I love this. It’s funny how words can make pictures even better than pictures can. I not only saw you as a child in your memory but it brought back similar memories of my own. Was the couch gold and the carpet shag?


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