Remembering When

by Jerry Person
Huntington Beach City Historian


Dedicated to the people of Huntington Beach


Better Babies Parade

 

Throughout the years, Main Street has witnessed many unusual parades during its lifetime, but none more tender and heart-warming as the parade that we’ll remember this week.

All mothers think that their baby is the most beautiful one in the world and of course they are right and as a way to promote that good health begins at a young age, our elementary school along with our local Red Cross staged a “Better Babies” parade on February 12, 1924 along Main Street.

Lynn Robb, head of the Huntington Beach chapter of the Red Cross and Edna Mae Pine, Central Elementary school nurse, spent many hours planning this most moving event.

Main Street may have seen much longer parades, parades with more pomp and splendor, but surely none more prouder that this one. Parents lined the street to watch the little ones marched by in the start of the Huntington Beach’s Better Babies parade.

Just picture watching these potential little mothers pushing their doll buggies in the parade, each carriage gaily decorated in beautiful colors and each holding some of the most “babies” imaginable. Dolls so lifelike that you would want to pick it up and cradle it in your arms for these little mothers had taken special care to see to it that their doll would look the best to the waiting and cheering crowd.

Following the little pre-moms and their carriages came the kindergarten band to add some music to the event, while their teachers marched along beside them., a most unusual sight followed the band as it was now time for the vegetables to come marching along.

Youngsters dressed as vegetables that included “Carrie Carrot, Ollie Onion, Letty Lettuce, Raddie Radish, Billy and Beatrice Beet, Susie Spinach, Tillie and Tommy Turnip.

Following the veggies came the white knights, kids dressed up as tall bottles of milk, marching along Main Street as the parade headed towards the Civic Auditorium for the next event of the day, namely the “Beautiful Baby” contest.            

When the vegetables and bottles of milk arrived at the auditorium, the beautiful “Health Fairy,” who explained how these products would keep your child happy and healthy, brought them up onstage.

But it was the baby contest that interested the mother most in the audience.

Twenty-five mothers who dressed their babies in their best and cutest outfits, complete with all the trinkets, ribbons and laces they could find.

Mothers and babies now took their seats on stage as the judges’ work of picking the most beautiful baby would began.

Judging the contest were Mrs. R.W. McCool, president of the P.T.A., Elsie Patrick, Lillian Plair and C.W. Patrick.

There were little pink babies with dark curls and glowing dark eyes and glorious blonde babies with golden hair and eyes as blue as the California skies.

But just before these judges entered the room to take their seats, a little girl told each judge that her baby sister sitting over there on grandma’s lap was the most beautiful baby in the world. “Just give my little sister the prize,” she told each judge.

A special program inside the auditorium was arranged for the people while the judges made up their minds.

Gertrude Howard and members of her Aokiya Camp Fire Girls put on a health play for the mothers in the audience.

The elementary school’s Boys Glee Club came next with a tender lullaby and an encore from the audience also brought a few tears from the parents.

It was standing room only that day as many people had to watch the event through the open doorway.

It was now time for Orange County Nurse Isabel Durgan to talk to the mothers in the audience about the caring for their babies and children.

The time had finally come for the judges to make a decision of who would be the most beautiful baby and this would be a hard decision for them to reach, but they finally awarded first prize of a $5 gold piece to May Elizabeth Huff, a cute little 18-month old blonde beauty with azure eyes and golden curls. Huff was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Huff from out Wintersburg way.

Second place was awarded to 14-month old Gloria Sequeido, a beauty with lovely dark eyes and lovely black curly hair and finally twelve-month-old Johnny Beeson of 717 Olive Avenue in Huntington Beach was awarded third place.

It was like choosing a perfect rose from an assorted bouquet when all were perfect roses, one of the judges remarked.

I’m glad I wasn’t one of the judges, for I would give all those little babies a $5 gold first prize, because as we all know Huntington Beach has the most beautiful babies in the world.