Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

Happy New Year (1925)


Don’t know about any of you, but I’m kind of glad to see 2016 come to an end. Mind you, for me personally, 2016 was better than 2015, mainly because I was sick almost the entire year of 2015. In 2016, I had my left hip replaced, but that was a Good Thing. Now all I have to hurt about is my back, and there’s even hope for that. But we lost SO MANY PEOPLE in 2016. Unfair, 2016. Phooey.

However, this particular blog isn’t about me, or even 2016. It’s about my home town of Pasadena, California, and its New Year’s Day traditions. And, of course, Daisy Gumm Majesty and her crew.

Daisy Gumm Majesty’s latest adventure, SPIRITS UNITED, takes place in Pasadena in October of 1924. But the new year (1925) is fast approaching! On Thursday, January 1, 1925, Daisy and her family (and maybe Sam Rotondo, if he can walk that far on his injured leg) will stroll the few blocks from her darling little bungalow on South Marengo Avenue to Colorado Boulevard to watch the Tournament of Roses Parade (more often known merely as the Rose Parade).

The Tournament of Roses Parade began its history in 1890, when folks in Pasadena drove their buggies and tallyhos (whatever they were), decorated with roses, along the streets of Pasadena. Over time, the Tournament of Roses Association was formed, and the Rose Parade became a more structured event. The big deal after the Rose Parade was, for the first few years, chariot races. Then the City Fathers (and Mothers, one presumes) decided to build a stadium, which they called the Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl was dedicated in October of 1922.

Here’s a picture of the Rose Bowl under construction in 1921:




Before the Rose Bowl was built, games were held in Tournament Park, which has since been renamed Brookside Park. For years and years, the Rose Bowl was the largest football stadium in the nation. Daisy didn’t much care about that, but her late husband, Billy; her current fiancé, Sam Rotondo; and Daisy’s father, Joe Gumm, are all football fans. However, they didn’t go to the 1925 Tournament of Roses Game. For Pete’s sake, tickets cost $5.00 EACH! Nobody in Daisy’s family would waste good money like that to watch anything so frivolous as a football game.



The 1925 game must have been exciting, however, because Knute Rockne’s legendary (to some. I’d never heard of them) Four Horsemen from Notre Dame played Ernie Nevers and his team from Stanford. Notre Dame won 27-10, in case you wondered.

As for the Tournament of Roses Parade itself, for many years the queen and princesses who composed her court were chosen from among students from Pasadena City College. Before that, however, I don’t have a clue how the queens, princesses, and sometimes even princes were selected. The very first Tournament of Roses Queen was Hallie Woods, who ruled on New Year’s Day, 1905.

Here we have a souvenir postcard from Pasadena for New Year’s Day, 1925:



There was no queen in 1924 for some reason beyond Daisy’s understanding or recollection. In 1925, however, the Tournament gurus made up for their neglect in 1924 and chose Margaret Scoville (who was, I presume, a local gal) as Pasadena’s Rose Queen. She was married, by the way. I think there were only two married Rose Queens in Pasadena’s long history.

Here we have a photo of Margaret Scoville, not when she was the reigning Rose Queen in 1925, but from a meeting of former Rose Queens held in 1956. Margaret’s the kind of dumpy one in the middle of those seated:



Naturally, Aunt Vi will fix something spectacular for dinner. Well, it’ll at least be mighty tasty. In fact, I suspect she’ll opt for a New England boiled dinner, which can cook while she and the rest of the family toddle up to see the Rose Parade. A New England boiled dinner consists of a corned beef brisket or a smoked ham and a bunch of root vegetables like onions, potatoes, rutabagas, maybe some parsnips and perhaps even some cabbage (yes, I know cabbage isn’t a root vegetable). Since neither Daisy nor I like black-eyed peas (and anyhow, they’re a southern tradition) we’ll just skip those, thank you very much. Of course Daisy’s father, Joe Gumm, would probably adore some codfish cakes. I know my father did. Since, however, neither Daisy nor I like those, either, Vi will forego them, bless her heart. There aren’t many foods Daisy and I can’t get down-home and comfy with, but black-eyed peas and codfish cakes are a couple of them. Kippered herrings are another matter altogether. We both love those.



Anyway, the last time I personally had a New England boiled dinner was when my younger daughter Robin, my mom, and I drove across this vast nation and visited relations in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. My half-sister, Ann Provost, (who lived in Dexter, Maine) made it for us. It was SPECTACULAR. Mind you, it’s kinda like corned beef and cabbage, but not on New Year’s Day.

I’ll be in touch with the winners of December’s contest individually. As I seem to have an overabundance of UNSETTLED SPIRITS, one of Daisy’s many adventures, I’ll be giving away copies of that book in January. If you’d like to enter the contest, just send me an email (alice@aliceduncan.net) and give me your name and home address. If you’d like to be added to my mailing list, you may do so on my web site (http://aliceduncan.net/). If you’d like to be friends on Facebook, visit my page at https://www.facebook.com/alice.duncan.925.

Thank you, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!


6 comments:

  1. Interesting story. I always watch the Rose Parade, and one year I was able to see some of it in person. They never mention how you can smell the floats, too. It is mild, but It is there... I am new to your books, but I have the three book set of books 1-3 and I'm set to go!

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    1. Hope you enjoy the books! I love Pasadena's history. I was born and grew up there (for the most part).

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  2. So fascinating to read about, the old days...
    and Daisy and the gang sound like a fun, cozy, sweet read. Thanks, Alice!

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    1. Thanks! You can give 'em a try for cheap :-)

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Guest Blogger - Alice Duncan

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