While watching the Macy parade on tv... I grew up in a small town in southern New Jersey, an hour away from Philadelphia. (WAIT - what the... a marching band with a Black Eyed Peas medley?) Our Thanksgiving Parade was the one from Philly. And that was the Gimbels Parade, which was the first, back in 1920. It would start somewhere around the art museum and end at their Philadelphia Store.
Why Philly instead of their main store in NYC just across the street from Macy's I don't know - but it became important as any kid from the 1950's would tell you : Gimbels had the only real Santa Claus. Santa arrived on the last float, and would then use a fire truck's ladder to climb into a window on the 8th floor, right into Toyland. God, in those days we had such great department stores: Strawbridge and Clothier, Lit Brothers, Kresges, Wanamaker's (genuflection)(sigh).
So the thing is this - over the years, Macy's became the Big parade. And I lived in NYC for 15 fuckin' years without ever being there in person. (Hmmm. Feels nice to let go of that anger.) No, I always had to go to my small town in New Jersey - family you know. Now, living here in Vermont, I can tell you one wonderful thing about Thanksgiving - starting a few years back I don't have to go down there anymore. I've outlived them.
I love these Victorian postcards.Please remember that they reflect another time.
I'll probably post more of these tomorrow...