I was lucky to have raised my children, back in the days where families shared fireworks, and block parties. We lived in a cul-de-sac. Every 4th of July family and neighbors pitched in and bought fireworks. Back when I was married, we splurged on extra “spinning flowers” to throw in the street. In those days, family and neighbors sat on their lawns and shared an evening, of family fun. People weren’t throwing “bottle rockets” on the rooftops, everyone kept it safe, and fun. It was a sad year, when we got the notice in the mail, that our city decided it was illegal to have street fireworks anymore. Now, we all had to go to a “school, or community event,” and pay to get in. I didn’t like that. I remember my kids were so disappointed. My oldest boys were only 3 and 5 years old. But for them, it was a lifetime of fun, celebrating the 4th. When “those boxes” started selling fireworks all around town, the kids would squeal with excitement. Every time we ran an errand, or took a walk, they saw those firework stands, and started grinning.
It’s a nostalgic feeling, remembering back when family, friends and neighbors would gather and share pot luck suppers. The kids were anxious to hear the piercing screams of those loud sirens, or to smell those smoke bombs that filled the air with mysterious smelling, black smoke. Then those brilliant, blazing colorful fountains, that produced oooooh’s and ahhhhhh’s from everyone, adults included. I don’t mind going to the school and community events, I know those cities are trying to provide, safe entertainment. Still, I felt like it was the end of something great. The precious family and neighborhood celebrations, that will never be the same. My oldest son decided to invent his own fireworks stand. Actually, it was for both boys. They collected all the fireworks wrappers from the school show, the night before. I wanted to walk with the kids to the school yard to play ball and fly kites, but my sons collected old, used up, fireworks. We had an old cart with a flat wooden top. It rolled on wheels. My boys put all their (used) fireworks on top, and taped them down, and wheeled that cart to every single neighbor’s house where their friends lived. Those kids loved it! They would pretend for hours that they were selling fireworks. They would even pretend to give a show. It’s a silly thing, I know, but a great memory of children’s determination to continue with fun and creative imagination. I am certain, most parents today, would never approve of their children collecting dirty, fireworks. Now, maybe I wouldn’t either, but back then, I am glad I did. They played their fireworks game for three more years, and had as much fun. The neighbor children looked forward to “the firework cart” rolling down the sidewalk, every July. I was sad, when my boys outgrew that game. The following year, our marital problems and life became more serious. I look back on that time with great fondness, as it captured the innosence of a child’s heart, and their love for adventures.
Article by Laurie Cesario-Overton