Fourth of July Remembrances
June Gustafson Shaw is my 1st cousin once removed. When I found her through my genealogy research, she was so kind to send me photos and stories and these treasured “remembrances” about my Grandparents, George & Clarissa Gustafson
My grandfather was her uncle. Her father, John Gustafson, was his youngest brother, I met him and some of the their family only once, in the early ’60′s at my grandparents home in Chatsworth, CA. Here is how she remembers celebrating the 4th of July…
Brothers George (L) and John (R)
“Uncle George and my Dad, traditionally built what they called the ‘carbide-cannon’ on the 4th of July that could produce a mighty BOOM!, heard around the neighborhood.
It had some chemicals in a paint can. The paint can was nailed to a 2×4. The lid was put on tightly, then you held a match to the back of the can and it blew the lid off the can. This was quite a thrill for the kids. Sure made the sparklers look tame.
Another thing I recall about 4th of July celebrations, was the FOOD! We had some wonderful cooks in our family, including my Mom-June McGonagle Gustafson, Aunt Cris-Clarissa Jones Gustafson, June-Gustafson Dulmage (June Gustafson Shaw & my Aunt June were friends ) and others…I remember Aunt Cris’s cinnamon buns, potato salad, and lots of delicious cookies.
My sister Mary Jo remembers that Uncle Geo always had Tootsie Pops on hand for the kids. Funny the things that stick with you….”
~ June Gustafson Shaw
Boy what I wouldn’t do to get my grandmother’s cinnamon buns recipe! She also made the best Cole-slaw ever. We moved back to “the States” from Midway, in 1961, when I was just turning seven and that was when I first met my grandparents. My grandfather, Pappy as I called him, was still handing out the Tootsie Pops! Before moving to the States I had no idea what grandparents or Aunts, Uncles or cousins were.
From June’s story I can see where my dad’s enthusiasm for the 4th of July came from. We always had a huge celebration at our house. My dad’s famous Texas bar-b-qued ribs, mom’s potato salad…and the appetizers were a meal in themselves. Dad would do his bull-whip tricks in the front yard and all the neighborhood kids would come to watch. Dad would make a great show of slicing up the watermelon–it was always so cool and juicy–the seed fights afterwards were so much fun and nobody cared if the juice ran down your face, neck and arms–at least us kids didn’t! By six o’clock we were so anxious for the fireworks display, that dad would let us set off all the “black snakes” before it got dark.
Now all the fireworks are “safe & sane” and the watermelons are seedless!