Monday, July 14, 2014

Happy 225th Bastille Day!

Today is Fete Nationale in France or as it is known here, Bastille Day. This is the 225th but we're going to go down memory lane to what was going on in my life on the 200th anniversary.

We were living in France and I was not shipped back to the states for the summer, mostly because my cousin Kelly was coming to visit. In those first days after school let out, I received a call from the school secretary, Mona, about the parade for Bastille Day. Seemed they were going to have an American themed float and they needed cheerleaders. As I was one of the captains that year, I got the call!

Kelly and me

I was set loose with some girls, some I knew, others I didn't, to come up with "American cheerleading routines." If memory serves correctly, we had some very unproductive practices and ended up designing our whole gig in the few days before. 

But no matter! The whole thing came off without a hitch! Our float was six cars. They each had stands built on them, containing spectator, and we cheerleaders were at the top. The stands were in two lines of three, facing each other and a marching band from Florida was in between. The effect was supposed to be like a football stadium.

I have no idea why we are with an elephant. 
Must have been from another float!

There was a big day of dress rehearsals and then July 14th, the big day!

I think this guy was in charge of the whole parade.

So there we were, in the parade, in Paris, for the 200th anniversary of Bastille Day. Even as a punk teenager, the enormity of it all was not lost on me. We had so mush fun. The parade itself was a blast. We were right on the Champs de Elysees for the final fireworks. Amazing. And after it was done, there was a giant party in the Tuleries Garden for parade participants and big wigs. Our float drivers were very interested in an after party with Kelly and me. Sure they would never find us in all the melee, we said sure - just find us after! Wouldn't you know they did.

But these guys, from the band, saved the day and we hung out with them all night.

I think we made it home sometime as the sun was coming up on the 15th. It was one of those once in a lifetime experiences and one of my favorite Paris memories!

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