Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Friday July 4

Spending these days
at home doing nothing
but reading listening to the

This greatest of American
holidays the birthday of the
U.S. Independence I celebrated
quietly within the confines of
my home.


Matt's Notes

I suppose someone unfamiliar with Papa's diary might find Papa's description of his solitary Independence Day to be mildly sad, but I expect he was more than just a little blue. Holidays and milestones usually made him feel particularly lonely, and a day like this, when it seemed like the whole country was having a party to which he wasn't invited, couldn't have made him feel any less alien (he was not yet a citizen) and adrift (the recent death of his father in the old country had left him without any true image of "home" to cling to).

While the above interpretations of Papa's feelings are speculative, I'm more confident that the sounds of the Democratic Convention on his radio didn't do much to cut through his gloom. Papa's beloved party remained locked in limbo, still unable to settle on a Presidential candidate after seventy ballots. The New York Times increasingly cast the struggle in warlike terms; guest columnist Will Rogers compared the delegates to veterans of the Great War while accounts of near-riots and attendees collapsing to the floor made other headlines.

Yet the leading candidates, Smith and McAdoo, still soldiered on even though neither had a chance at the nomination. It was 12:18 AM when the convention finally adjourned and allowed Papa to switch off his radio and go to bed. I suppose the day's demonstration of democracy at its sloppiest must have made for a strange and sour Fourth of July. Still, Papa would live to see his adopted country recover and accomplish many impressive things, which is some small comfort on July 4th, 2007, when our President has just set a new standard for grotesque tolerance of criminal behavior in his administration. Maybe we'll get the taste out of our mouths one of these days.


References from the New York Times:

1 comment:

  1. Hello Matt. I'm a co-worker of Stephanie's — she told me about your project. I'm always immediately sucked into a story in diary form and this is no exception. The photos of the actual entry alongside the text is a nice touch.