My Dad and I decorated a bassinet and wagon in lively floral colors, which I pulled along the parade route. My pet monkey -- dressed in baby clothes -- hopped in and out and delighted in entertaining those viewing. The laughter and appalause of the crowd was quite a thrill for a ten-year-old girl!
The day of the Grand Floral Parade became our reason for a yearly family reunion. The Imperial hotel (in downtown Portland) became our favored site, with a good view of the parade route. Along with my grandmother, we'd rent a room there almost every year -- right up until she was 101 years old!
Many of her ten children -- who were my Mom and my Aunts and Uncles -- plus lots of my cousins (and later our own children) would join her there to watch the parade from the hotel room as it passed on the street below.
What wonderful memories of fun and family and the excitement of the parade!
I'm now 83 years old, and the Grand Floral Parade continues to be an exciting family event. Though I lived in The Dalles most of my life -- and now live in Salem near children -- I still like to be there before daylight to stake out a spot on Broadway near the coliseum.
I've even been known to sleep in the car in order to be there early! I dearly miss the company of my beloved husband these past two years -- but my spirits come alive when the sun comes up and my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren join me there. I love every minute of it!
~Ann Bledsoe (Salem, Oregon)