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    Thursday, August 18, 2022

    Mystic parade story brought back memories

    Ruth Crocker’s fascinating article in the May 26 issue of the Mystic Times brought back fond memories. I knew many of the folks who served on the committee. Byron Hatfield was one of my father’s friends. Dr. Schuster was my dentist. James McKenna wrote for The Day and Mary Langdon, another friend of my parents, sang at my wedding.

    Ruth was able to march in the parade as a Girl Scout. I remember going to Noyes Dry Goods to buy white gloves for one of my daughters so that she could carry the flag in a Memorial Day parade many years later. That parade may be also one where my wife, a Brownie leader, had to carry one of her Scouts over the bridge because she was too frightened to walk on the grating.

    I was 7 and too young for Cub Scouts in 1954, but I was, nevertheless, in the Tercentenary parade – literally “in” the parade. While I was not yet a Scout, my sister was. She belonged to the local Mariner Girl Scout troop led by Helen Keith.

    The girls’ float was a papier-mâché whale mounted on a Jeep driven by my father. I rode inside with him.

    The whale had a hole on top and I was supplied with an Indian pump, such as firefighters use for grass fires. This allowed the whale to spout.

    At my father’s direction, I would push down hard on the plunger, and a stream of water would erupt.

    This worked well, and the spectators apparently enjoyed seeing the whale spout. All but one – a policeman directing traffic near Kretzer’s, the site of Young Buns today. He must have had a good sense of humor because he got pretty wet!

    Robert F. Welt is a retired Groton Public Schools teacher who lives in Mystic.

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