Friday, July 3, 2009

How Times Have Changed

Happy 4th of July eve.

The fourth of July use to be a very exciting time for me -- back when I was about 10 years old. We could get real fireworks and fire crackers, like these.

And they were legal! They went on sale about two weeks before the 4th. I saved up my money to buy mostly firecrackers. My parents got the bigger stuff to let off on the 4th, like my favorite -- buzz bombs.

But us kids got the firecrackers. They were great fun. We would light them and throw them. We would put them in cans and blow the cans in the air. After a rain, we would put them under slugs and blow them up. (In Seattle, we had lots of slugs and they always came out after a rain.) Did we hurt ourselves. Occasionally. There was usually a burned finger or two, but it was not big deal and our parents just reminded us to be careful. There was never any thought of taking the firecrackers away for us.

Fast forward 50 years. The "real" fireworks are illegal. I do live in one of the few communities in Southern California the still permit "safe and sane" fireworks, but they are really not the same. The two granddaughters that we sit for (I am not going to say babysit, because they constantly remind me that they are not babies) don't like fireworks. They have gone to firework celebrations in the past and the noise scares them. How times have changed. I liked to loud explosions. Still do. The loud bangs were the fun thing about firecrackers. Well, second to being able to blow things up with them.

I don't remember the animals being scared by the noises either. Now, one of our dogs is terrified by the noise. She tries to find a dark quiet spot in the house when the fireworks start going off, curls up in a ball, and shakes. We have to sedate her so that she will sleep through it.

So enjoy your holiday weekend. I will be tending a scared dog and remembering what the 4th of July was really like, back in the olden days.


  1. I grew up on Bainbridge Island, and have similar memories. :-D

  2. I spent a lot of my childhood on Whidbey Island. It is still one of my favorite places to get away to.

  3. Do you remember the Cherry Bombs? lol.

    Those were fun and insane days in the streets of Bensonhurst Brooklyn..

    The next day we would love for firecrackers that did not go off .. and empty the powder out and light them for a little frizzle effect..

    Some blocks had tons of crackers lined up for dozen of feets...

    Or inside metal garbage cans (remember garbage cans that were metal.. lol.........the metal covers made good armour for snowball fights.. the snow really snowed in the late 1960s.. I was born 1961.

    AAh those were the day my friend.. I thought they never end.. (remember that song).

    Wait you did not have snow in CA?lol

  4. I did not grow up is CA. I grew up in Seattle so we did get snow a couple of times a year. Most of the time, however, it stayed where it belongs - in the mountains.\

    And I do remember metal garbage cans. You can still buy them at Home Depot but everyone around here has cans (big plastic bins) given out by the garbage collection company.

  5. Oy, Jerry, you are a typical boy. :) Boys and things that go boom! in the night are made for each other.

    I have two of them (boys, that is), 21 and 16, and every holiday, even remotely associated with anything firework-y, they drive to Indiana or Wisconsin where the "real stuff" is legal. Then they come back home with it and scare me, er, mindless with their enthusiasm for explosions. I send them away to our nearby park, so they wouldn't blow my eardrums off. They don't understand why I can't appreciate the spectacle. (I can't. For the same reason your granddaughters can't. Plus the freakin' mosquitoes everywhere.)

    And Aggie, poor thing, it's the hardest for him. Dogs don't dig loud noises. I imagine Ginger and Niki losing their minds from fear. I'm actually surprised that only one of them is freaked out.

    Last year, Aggie "hid" under a bed, but just by sticking his head under, while the rest of him was out in plain sight. We made fun of him (though it was nothing funny to him, of course): it was like a 2-year-old who covers her eyes and thinks that no one can see her.

    This year, he was more subdued, but I suspect that's because his hearing is not what it used to be. (He is over 14 now.)

    Next danger day: New Year's Eve. (Unless my children create another explosive occasion...)