Joan Laessig and Betsy Laessig Stary - 4th of July

4th of July story by Joan Laessig and Betsy Laessig Stary

A short story recorded by Joan Laessig and Betsy Laessig Stary at the 75th anniversary of the Westmorland Neighborhood 4th of July celebration.

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    Interviewer: Alright this is Marie… Marie Kazmarek and I’m interviewing with um Betsy…

    Narrator 2: Laessig Stary!

    Interviewer: S- Stary, and…

    Narrator 1: Joan Laessig--her mother.

    Interviewer: I’ll just go like this.

    Narrator 1: OK.

    Narrator 2: OK.

    Interviewing: [RESUMING] Just say your names.

    Narrator 2: I’m- I’m Betsy Laessig Stary.

    Interviewer: OK.

    Narrator 1: I’m Joan Laessig [PAUSE] I’m her mother [LAUGHTER]

    Interviewer: [LAUGHING] Alrighty, so do you have any favorite memories from Westmorland [PAUSE] Neighborhood in general?

    Narrator 2: Um… Yes I came to the 4th of July parade and the carnival every year since I can remember. Ummmm I’m forty six years old now and I can’t remember a 4th of July NOT coming here. Um there also used to be other events in the Westmorland neighborhood, like there was the Halloween parade when I was little and let’s see there was an ice skating party in the middle of winter--

    Narrator 1: Santa Claus came…

    Narrator 2: Santa Claus came…to our house. [PAUSE] Yep I--

    Narrator 1: You played here.

    Narrator 2: Yep I played here a lot. [PAUSE] [INAUDIBLE]

    Interviewer: Yeah this is very informal though. They’ll take out stuff and such. [LONG PAUSE FOR RESPONSE]. Do you have a…particular favorite memory from here?

    Narrator 2: Um yeah, I have a great story I can tell. OK, so back in the day… This--I mean like thirty years ago--we had fireworks here, OK?

    Narrator 1: In the park…

    Narrator 2: In the park. OK, and my mom would always volunteer to help. But mom always got a headache that day and my dad got stuck doin’ it. [NARRATOR 1 & 2 LAUGH] And one year, um, actually this was many years in a row, they would collect um, there were garbage cans that people could throw money to donate for the fireworks. And my dad would always go up to the drunkest people and ask them to give money and dump their whole wallets in the garbage cans [NARRATOR 1 EXHALES LOUDLY]. And so my Dad and I always had the, the most money for the f-following year because, my dad would tell the drunks to dump their whole wallets and purses into that garbage can! [NARRATOR 2 AND INTERVIEWER LAUGH] Um…

    Interviewer: [LAUGHING] Oh my gosh…

    Narrator 2: It was awesome.

    Interviewer: Yeah how many years have you guys--each of you--lived here?

    Narrator 2: Um I’ve lived, well I lived here…

    Narrator 1: [CROSS-TALK] Well I was--you were 10--

    Narrator 2: [CROSS-TALK] When we bought the house--er when we built the house. So it was like 1977 or something--

    Narrator 1: [CROSS-TALK]: They were in 3rd grade.

    Narrator 2: So it’s gotta be about thirty five years…no, more than that.

    Narrator 1: Forty!

    Narrator 2: Forty years at least, yeah.

    Interviewer: What do you like about the 4th of July event?

    Narrator 2: It was always fun, y’know? It was always like, good, cheap fun y’know and you saw your friends and you played games and--

    Narrator 1: It was a real neighborhood event-

    Narrator 2: Mhm, yep

    Narrator 1: And all--

    Narrator 2: Everybody came!

    Narrator 1: And it was smaller. I mean--the neighbors, we really worked on it, and had meetings and things.