Ernest K., 87, residing at Brookdale Evesham in Voorhees, NJ has always been fascinated by one of America’s oldest traditions: parades. He especially has an interest in the Mummer’s Day Parade, which has been around for over a century and is an East Coast institution on New Year’s Day. For many years, Ernest has watched the Mummer’s Day Parade on TV, but he always had dreams of riding on a float, banging drums, and clashing cymbals. Now, 52 years after attending the parade in person, Ernest’s Wish of a Lifetime was to go back to the Mummer’s Day Parade and not only attend, but be a part of it!
Ernest, who was born in Germany, vividly remembers his first parade experience. As a young Jewish boy, the Nazi party used to march through his neighborhood, banging drums and singing their songs of allegiance. Ernest did not understand who these people were, but loved their spirit and on one occasion, actually joined in and began marching and singing with them. Luckily, a neighbor saw Ernest and pulled him out of the parade. A few years later, Ernest’s family immigrated to New York, and he began his new life in the United States. Since that time, he continued to watch as many parades as he could, and even brought his children to the Mummer’s Day Parade to see the amazing costumes and music in person. Unfortunately, New Year’s Day in Philadelphia was usually extremely cold, so Ernest stuck to watching the parade for the next 50 years from the comfort of his home.
Because of Ernest’s passion for parades and unrelenting desire to be a part of one, Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale made this Wish a reality by allowing Ernest to participate in the Mummer’s Day Parade. On January 1, 2015, dressed in an elaborate costume, Ernest was able to ride in the lead car ahead of the Uptown String Band and finally put his dream to rest!