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Friday, November 23, 2012

Change of Heart?

(Note the "scratches" you may think you are seeing are strings supporting "Bob")
It seems Sponge Bob (pictured above) was as surprised to see me as I was to see him yesterday morning, a "mild" one (weather wise) for Thanksgiving! For on this particular holiday, in bygone years in New York City, where I live, weather conditions have often been either rainy or windy or both, not exactly a "comfortable" atmosphere for a parade — especially one so huge as the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Sponge Bob is one of the participants in the parade, and since I have not watched television since the 1980's, I don't know much about him. I'm more familiar with good ol' Charlie Brown, the beloved Charles Schulz character who is pictured below, where he can be seen "marching" in yesterday's parade.

(Note the "scratches" you may think you are seeing are strings supporting CB)
Although I now live very close to part of the route of the Macy's Parade, it is an event that I prefer not to make an effort to attend, as the crowds are often massive, as well as aggressive. 

Be that as it may, one of the first times I made an effort to go to the parade was when my grandmother's sister (and hence my great aunt) Ruth came to New York City to visit me. 

The time period was during one of my first few years of living in Manhattan, and during those years I was living in a rooming house (or SRO as "we" refer to them in the city). It was a miserable place to live, but I managed to procure a room for Ruth, and she insisted we navigate the crowds to travel and to see the parade — even though it was very windy and rain was pouring down.

In any event, due to the fact that I lived in a rooming house, I had no facilities for cooking or refrigerating food, but because it was Thanksgiving, the staff had a table set up in the lobby with burnt coffee and day-old pastries! Ruth grabbed a Cinnamon Danish as we were leaving to attend the parade; and upon her hearing me introduce her to folks as "my great aunt" she snapped (within ear shot of those she was being introduced to), "Don't call me your great aunt! People will think I am old!"  A gentleman — who was on the staff where I lived — heard her rebuff, and laughed heartily saying, "OK, then you are not so great . . . "

We arrived at the parade to discover throngs and throngs and throngs of people clinging to their umbrellas in an effort to hang on to them in the blustery winds. My great aunt (who lived outside the Washington D.C. area) was no stranger to crowds and she pushed her way — soggy Danish in hand — to the front in spite of protests from folks with screaming children in tow! I don't remember seeing any floats or balloons, nor do I remember hearing any of what the marching bands played, but the soggy Danish and my great aunt pushing her way through the crowds is an image embedded in my memory.

For the most part, I got out of going to the parade for years to come because I either worked or traveled to spend the holiday to be with my father, whose wife begrudged the day, making it occasion I truly dreaded. Since his death in 1995, I've spent Thanksgivings in a variety of situations in New York City, with very well meaning people, but the truth is I do not care to travel on Thanksgiving.

And as for the parade? I confess that even though part of the route is very close to my home, I have avoided attending it and I have even turned on my air-conditioner to block out the noise! You can see Ebenezer Scrooge and I have a lot in common. 

But yesterday morning, after I replenished my bird feeders and watered my garden, which has "come back" from all of its upsets such as the "so-called" renovation, Hurricane Sandy and our nor'easter, as evident by the image below, 

I decided to give seeing the parade another chance. However, I did not attempt to push through the folks who had lined up along the curbside as my great aunt had done years ago, instead I stood in the middle of the street behind the crowds and enjoyed looking up at the "aerial view" of the parade where I encountered Sponge Bob and Charlie Brown. 

I also spotted a number of other interesting participants in the parade, and the ones that are familiar to the animated "world" are pictured below:

 (Note the "scratches" you may think you are seeing are strings supporting Kermit, whose "wisdom" has been featured on TLLG's Blogger in the past, please click here)
(Please note "scratches" you may think you are seeing,
 are strings supporting this Kung Fu Panda)
(Please note "scratches" you may think you are seeing,
 are strings supporting the dinosaur)
(Please Note the "scratches" you may think you are seeing are strings supporting Mickey)
(Please note "scratches" you may think you are seeing,
 are strings supporting Sonic )

(Please note "scratches" you may think you are seeing,
 are strings supporting Julius)
(Note the "scratches" you may think you are seeing are strings supporting Spider Man)
(Note the "scratches" you may think you are seeing are strings supporting Smurf)
(Note the "scratches" you may think you are seeing are strings supporting Hello Kitty)
(Please note "scratches" you may think you are seeing,
 are strings supporting this cool cat)
And a few ad icons marched in the parade also, such as Ronald McDonald and The Pillsbury Doughboy whose photo-ops can be seen below.

Ronald McDonald makes a RUN for it down CPW! 
The Pillsbury Doughboy Revels in Being a Spectacle 
And while I found them all a joy to behold as they warmed what has been lately my Scrooge disposition, I really got a kick out of the following based on an experience I had with a "celebrity" in my neighborhood.

As you can see, Uncle Sam, a fire chief and a constable have each paused from marching in the parade and are staring into the window of a building. I found it amusing, as in bygone years I have met a few tenants from that building such as John P. John (AKA Mr. John a well known milliner), Marge Redmond (the Mother Superior in The Flying Nun) and Peter Jennings (the now deceased news caster from World News Tonight). I knew Mr. John and Ms. Redmond because each of them came into a restaurant where I worked in the 1980s.

I was surprised to learn a famous anecdote of Mr. John's which is this: a woman came into his shop in urgent need of a hat. He built one up right on her head, but she balked when he named his price. He then disassembled the pieces and handed them to her. 'That's $3.59,' he said, 'You make it,' because Mr. John would sit in my station for hours and only leave loose change as a tip! As for Ms. Redmond, she also sat in my station for hours whilst reading The New York Post and on most occasions left me a dollar; however, she was encouraging when I auditioned for Dustin Hoffman's production of Death of a Salesman, an audition which I have referred to here on Blogger, including a post you may refer to by clicking here.

As for Mr. Jennings, I did not meet him at my waitress job; rather, I met him one evening whilst walking home from a job I had at Hunter College. My bags were very heavy and I stopped to put them down on a curb before crossing the street, when out of nowhere, a man came up to me and asked if he could carry my bags. I don't normally hand what I'm carrying to a stranger but I did, and as we walked up the avenue he asked if I was bringing my work home with me. I was guarded and did not say much; however, I asked him if he was on his way home from work, he said he was and I asked him where he worked. He informed me that he worked at ABC News so I asked him if he knew people that I was acquainted with, not realizing (since I don't watch television) that I was talking with Peter Jennings.

All three of the aforementioned people lived in the building grazed by both the cartoon character and "real people" balloons and for a brief second yesterday I wondered how it would seem to be in your apartment and have a balloon eye-balling your window. I'm sure there's a story in that scenario, perhaps one told by the balloon?

There were many other floats and balloons that I captured on camera, and perhaps I'll post them on tumblr; or TLLG's Faebook Page; or on a Pinterst Board, so please stay tuned! 

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