Leon Worden




Too bad we can't turn back the clock

Leon Worden · July 2, 1997

Frank Rock will just have to stand aside, because I'm going to give his wife Carol a great big hug and kiss when this Friday's Fourth of July Parade is over. Carol has been furiously writing the announcers' script and helping set the parade lineup, and unless you've done it before, you don't know how much work it is.

Today's Old Town Newhall Gazette, which you'll find inside today's Signal, will answer many of your parade questions -- the what, where and when. Then on Friday, the official parade lineup will appear in a special pull-out section inside of Escape. It'll be the real thing this time, not John Boston's annual "Buck Naked" parade satire. That was last week.

Speaking of John "I Buy My T-Shirts and Beer at the 99 Cents Only Store" Boston, the parade offers you a chance to unload on him. He'll be making a rare public appearance, playing peacekeeper at the head of the parade posse. (Note that "unload" does NOT include Silly String or water guns. They're outlawed during the parade. Verbal assaults, however, are perfectly OK if aimed at John.)

Seriously, The Signal and its employees have been a big help with this year's parade, as have Magic Ford and Magic Lincoln-Mercury, The Newhall Land and Farming Company, Valencia National Bank and Newhall Hardware, to name just a few.

The parade and the Stars and Stripes Festival at Newhall Park afterward will be the kickoff events for the City's tenth birthday party, which will run six months. Can you believe it's been a whole decade? It seems like just yesterday we were trying to convince each other we'd be better off under home rule.

We've had some ups and downs in those ten years, but we've got a lot to show for them. We've got parks and trails that we probably never would have had under the county. We've got a top-notch police force that responds to the needs of our community and has kept us among the safest cities in the nation. We've got major landscaping being done in Canyon Country and revitalization happening in Old Town Newhall that wouldn't happen if we weren't a city. We've got a lot more of our tax dollars staying in town.

Most of all, we've got a cohesiveness that we didn't have before cityhood. No longer are we four communities at war -- except maybe in Tell It to the Signal. Today we are Santa Clarita.

And what showcases Santa Clarita's identity better than the Fourth of July Parade? Looking back over old parade stories in the newspaper from 65 years ago, I'm struck by how much the parade has mirrored who we were.

Sixty-five years ago, we were a little frontier town of a few thousand people. Our parade featured old-time prospectors and ranchers, mule teams, car dealers' latest models, and religious orders that were popular in Newhall during and after Prohibition.

This year we've got kids, kids and more kids. We've got Cub Scout packs galore. We've got moms' clubs. We've got baseball teams, beauty queens and kids from the YMCA. Sure, we've got plenty of neat parade horses and musical groups and antique automobiles -- including some that would have been the "latest models" 65 years ago -- but more than anything, our parade demonstrates that Santa Clarita has become the preeminent community for raising children.

That, of course, suggests an incredible challenge for the next ten years of cityhood. All those kids are going to need more schools, more parks, more places to live, and more roads to get them there. If we've grown up in the last ten years, then in the next ten we will age.

The Fourth of July is a fun holiday and a great time for remembering the way things were. It's much more difficult to accept the fact that we can't turn back the clock.

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Leon Worden is a Santa Clarita resident. His commentary appears on Wednesdays.


©1997 LEON WORDEN — ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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