‘Little Paraders Just as Patriotic’

(Editor’s Note: Check out Buddy Macatee’s column on the annual Park Cities July 4 Parade in this week’s Park Cities People.)

Bill and Catherine Conklin lead a group of neighborhood kids — including Ann, Dick, and Jinx Washburne — in the 1960 Fourth of July Parade.

From the July 7, 1960, edition of The Dallas Morning News

An old Connecticut custom was firmly established as a Dallas custom as Conklin’s Little Army and Tin-Pan Band marched again on July 4.

“Four days ago the kids in the neighborhood started asking if the parade would be held again,” said William R. Conklin, 3804 Normandy. “And, as you see, the parade gets bigger every year.”

Ann Washburne, 13, of 4308 McFarlin, carried the flag in front of all the young marchers except Sam.

Sam, a perennial marcher, is the Conklin Dachshund. He always finds a place near the front of the July 4 parade.

Most of the youngsters from three to 13 brought their own noisemakers – there were skillets, pans and drums. And Randy Thomas blew into a trombone. The sound came out in no particular tune but Conklin called it a “good noise”.

The insuranceman who brought the idea with him a dozen years ago believes the custom is good and a way to get the children to recognize the Fourth of July.

The first of the neighborhood parades was in 1948 when Conklin’s daughter, Catherine, 10, marched with a few of her friends. Catherine was married last year, but the youngest of the Conklin sisters, Lydia, now 10, was in the line of march Monday.

Conklin figures the parades will continue each July 4 long after Lydia, too, has grown up and married.

The six blocks parade around the 3600-3700 blocks of Normandy and Potomac ended with a feast of ice cream, root beer and cookies at the Conklin residence. And that didn’t take long.

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