4th of July story by Mitchell Hagopian
A short story recorded by Mitchell Hagopian at the 75th anniversary of the Westmorland Neighborhood 4th of July celebration.
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Interviewer: Hello, this is Marie Kazmarek, and this is...
Narrator: Mitchell Hagopian.
Interviewer: So, Mitchell, do you have any favorite memories of Westmorland?
Narrator: Favorite memories of Westmorland. Well, I guess it’s mostly just, uh, having my kids grow up here, participate in the Fourth of July parades, Halloween parades. Just in general a nice sense of community.
Interviewer: Is there any particular memory or favorite thing you like about the Fourth of July events?
Narrator: Well, I’m in the walking band and have been for a number of years, and that’s always fun. Um, but I always enjoyed watching the kids play the kiddie games. That seemed like one of the nicer things that the association can do. All in all, it just seems like one of those celebrations that is quintessentially American and kind of demonstrates what’s best about the country. And so I get kind of proud of the old flag on a day like today.
Interviewer: How many years have you lived here?
Narrator: Uh, I moved in in 1989, so this must be our 30… 26th… 27th? I don’t know, something like that. 27 years.
Interviewer: Have you seen the neighborhood change much in those years?
Narrator: Um, well I think, uh, interesting, probably happens to everybody, but when we came in we were a young couple with no children, and our neighbors were all older, and now we’re the older people with no children in the house and school anymore. Um, and the young families are coming up behind us. It’s nice to see the neighborhood continue to be a pretty close-knit but changing neighborhood. Changing, but keeping the same kind of flavor and values that the neighborhood always has had.
Interviewer: Did you say you have kids? Or not.
Narrator: We do have kids. We have two children that grew up here in Westmorland. Uh, let’s see, this is 2016. One of them is now 23 and she is a meat inspector for the state of Wisconsin, so keeping our food supply safe and healthy. The other one is—she went to the University of Wisconsin River Falls. My other daughter Natalie is 20 and she is going to be a junior at Lawrence University in Appleton. And they both participated in all the kiddie parades up until they got too old to, uh, look stupid on bicycles. They made the newspaper a couple times with their getups, so that was always a highlight.
Interviewer: [LAUGHS] Nice. So is there—do you have anything, um, favorite about the neighborhood that you like in particular?
Narrator: Well, it’s — This park is, like, the prettiest park I think in the whole city of Madison, Westmorland Park. With the nice different kind of elevated elevations and the topography, and the trees surrounding it, and the nice play areas. It’s just actually beautiful. It’s just a pleasure to walk by here at night, come by and take a look at it and see the folks having fun. And then to see a lot of the people on the Fourth of July is always a real treat, and, uh, it makes you feel like you’re really part of a community. So I guess I like the park best, but the other part that’s nice about the neighborhood is, every spring when everyone finally comes out of doors, after being shut up all winter, and gets reacquainted with one another, that’s one of the highlights of every year in Westmorland.
Interviewer: Is there anything else you would like to add, any story of any kind?
Narrator: Not that I can think of. Uh, nope, I think that’s good for now.
Interviewer: All right, thank you very much.
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