Parades and Picnics
The Corning Fourth of July picnic has been around longer than I have, and that’s a long time. Some of my earliest memories are of that eagerly awaited summer day. All my uncles, aunts and cousins would gather, usually in time for the parade. Back then, businesses lined First and Second streets, and most would decorate a float. In addition, the various clubs, the churches, bikes, tractors, cars and horses made for a lengthy parade. For obvious reasons the horses were at the end. I always wondered how they came up with enough convertibles for all the beauty contestants to ride on. My mom and I worked at Ben Franklin, which always had a float. The employees would gather at night for maybe a week to work on it. One year, it must’ve been 1963, our theme was
“Beverly’s Hillbillies.” Beverly was the store manager, so it was catchy and fitting. Juanita Crumpton was Granny, and her husband Henry was Jed. She sat in a rocking chair with Jed standing beside her, holding his gun. Beverly’s nephew was Jethro. I was Ellie May. Since I didn’t quite “measure up,” I wore my mom’s bra with a pair of my dad’s socks tucked inside. We loaded the float with my grandma’s wash kettle and other old household items. We won first place with that one.
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