Thursday, July 4, 2013

Past Fourth of July Celebrations in Mt. Pleasant, Utah

 Hazel (Jensen) Anderson dressed for 4th of July in Mt Pleasant circa 1904.

 We always looked forward to getting ready for the big Fourth of July parade.  Mama always made a really nice dress out of embroidered material for each of us girls every summer.  We got new white long stockings and nearly always a pair of black patent leather slippers.  All the kids in the neighborhood had aboout the same type of clothes.  The night before the Fourth of July, about eight or ten of the girls around the block slept together on the Lund's upstairs porch.  It was really awe inspiring to watch the heavens, and once in a while the stars fell and left a streak of light across the sky.  We listened to the sounds of the night that were so eerie, but we eventually fell asleep. 

The next thing we knew the cannons in the hills were shooting off with a boom that fairly shook the earth around us.  Then we listened for the sound of music; the town band got in a hayrack or some other vehicle that could carry them and rode through town playing.  It was wonderful, so exciting; soon they came past the house, and we went home to get ready for the big parade and the rest of the Fourth of July festivities.  All the kids planned how much money we would ask for to spend on the big day.  One day stands out in my mind as a really special day because we asked for and received ~twenty-five cents to spend!  We decided to spend a nickel in the morning at the parade and then in the afternoon go up to the drugstore and have a BANANA SPLIT, which cost $.15.  Then we still had another nickel to spend at night when we saw the fireworks shot off on the corner below the big schoolhouse where a monument stood.  It was a thrill to watch the fireworks, especially when we were sure the sparks hadn't caused a fire anywhere in town.

THE FOURTH OF JULY SHOW Elizabeth Jacobsen Story Cheyenne, Wyoming 
Even now I become emotional and fearful when I remember the 4th of July show in 1920 when I was a child growing up in Mt. Pleasant, Utah. It was the glorious 4th of July celebration and I was five years old. This year I had been chosen along with many other South Ward Primary children to put on costumes and ride on a horse-drawn wagon in the 4th of July parade this early morning. My mother had dressed me in an authentic costume for the occasion. I was wearing long socks, high-buttoned shoes and an off-white coat with a bertha collar trimmed with fine lace. The bonnet I wore on my head was a lovely blue bonnet which was trimmed with blue ribbon bows. It tied under my chin with two steamers of blue ribbon. All the costumes and children were adorable. We were an excited group of young children really having a great time. Then it happened. There seemed to come out of nowhere some riders on horse-back who looked exactly like wild Indians with feather headdresses and all. They rode close by the wagon and were whooping and hollering like Indians. Then one of them came close to our wagon and grabbed me about the waist and dragged me from my place on the wagon onto his horse, and we rode off.

I was screaming and kicking and struggling with all my might and all the time remembering tales of Indian massacres and torture that I had been told. I was absolutely terrified. When eventually the Indian imposter let me down into the arms of a strong bystander and I was asked my name and who my parents were, I could not speak a word. I was hysterical. When somehow my father found me in the crowd and I felt safe again, I could the speak, but only softly at first. Today at present

I have found in an old photo album with pictures taken by Kodak in the 1920’s a small picture of the two men dressed as Indians and myself dressed as the little Pioneer Girl. I do not look too happy in the photo about the whole thing, but a thought now occurs to me as I recall this day. Yes, I had really been the star actress this day. I had played the role of a frightened little five-year-old Pioneer girl as if it were for real, and even though I had been an unwilling actress in the drams, I had played my part very well without any rehearsals. It must have been the best performance of my life on any stage or in all the other parades I’ve been in since. I had played my role with feeling. I, along with the other actors, had pleased the watching crowd in this ‘The Fourth of July Show.’

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