Fourth of July revisited
About 10 years ago I mailed flyers to Bay High alums asking them to return the flyer completed to become part of Bay’s history. I called it the Neighborhood Project and separated the information I received into east-end and west-end neighborhoods. I received some wonderful stories about life and neighbors living in Bay Village in the 1930s, '40s and '50s. I wish I had 100 more.
Interestingly, the most often mentioned favorite memory was the 4th of July. While sorting through a pile of my dad’s papers in the attic, I found a roster of the events of the day and the people responsible for them for the July 4th celebration in 1944 which happened to be on a Tuesday that year. We only celebrated for one day back then, unlike the four days that make up the Bay Days celebration today. Enjoy the following memories.
Tuesday, July 4, 1944, in Bay Village
It was hard to fall asleep the night before the 4th of July just thinking about all the goodies that were going to be piled high under the big tree across from the Community House the next day. Checking it out was one of the wonderful parts of the day.
Up on top of the pile were the two bicycles, one boys and one girls, for the winning raffle tickets. Underneath were all the rest of the goodies: basketballs, baseballs, footballs, bats, baseball mitts, roller skates, tennis rackets and balls, badminton sets, croquet sets, decorated wooden boxes, books and more.
For Mom and Dad, there were clocks, radios, mixers, toasters, hand-crocheted towels, pillow cases, hot pads, aprons, dishes and glass sets. It was a smorgasbord of goodies to see, and it was all donated by area merchants and villagers.
In the morning, in our best shorts and blouses, we headed for the park. The activities for the day were organized and run by our parents.
Here are some of the names on the 1944 roster of people who helped: Austin, Baldwin, Bellish, Benbow, Botts, Burt, Chamberlain, DuProw, Harter, Hoagland, Hockett, Holliday, Hook, Houk, Hudak, Jacobs, Knoll, Koelliker, Laverty, Leavens, Linsenmeyer, Mosely, Peterson, Potter, Pyle, Redinger, Rothaermel, Smith, Solt, Wendt, Wingard, and Wischmeyer.
It all started at 9:55 a.m. with an aerial salute and the raising of the flag by the Bay Village Scout Troops. At 10:05, a ball game featuring the Canterbury Tigers and the Bay Village All Stars began. At 11:00, the decorated Bicycle and Tricycle Parade started at Rose Hill, and at 11:30 there were bicycle races on Cahoon Road.
At 1:00 p.m., there was an assortment of choices. Down at the mouth of Cahoon Creek, motor and sailboat races commenced. In the park there were bowling, golf, horseshoe or beach ball contests. At 1:30, the Girl Scouts and Brownies had a sing at the Community House.
At 2:00, the games and races began for the children. There was the three-legged race, the wheelbarrow race, the sprint, tossing the baseball the farthest, toss and catch and badminton fly. The top three winners got something from under that marvelous tree next to the Community House.
For Mom and Dad, there were the three-legged race, egg throw and who could wrap and unwrap dad with toilet paper the fastest. At 4:00, the firemen had a water fight with their fire hoses, and at 4:30, Bingo started in the Community House.
The dinner hour was at 6:00 p.m. and featured ham and potato salad or wieners and beans. Coffee was served by the Girl Scout mothers, and soft drinks were sold by the Boy Scout fathers. At 7:00 p.m., the flag was lowered and the band concert by the Parkview High School Band started. At 9:00 p.m., dancing in the Community House began, and a movie was shown in the valley.
Special events were the war stamp treasure hunt, time guessing contest and largest fish caught. Prizes were awarded to all, and we watched the goodies disappear under the tree. Every hour there was a raffle drawing, and near the end of the day the bicycles were awarded to the lucky boy and girl with the winning raffle tickets.
We arrived for the evening events in our best dresses and summer sandals. My parents were often in charge of the dance. No matter the age, anyone could dance in the Community House to the 78 rpm records, with owner’s names on them, loaned by the high school students. The fans were running overhead and with the windows open the sounds of “Opus One” and “Stardust” drifted out over the park. I can still hear them. There were no fireworks in the year 1944.
Those were the days. Although it was a sad time in Bay with our boys fighting in WWII, this was a day to remember. As a kid we wondered how it could get any better!