Wednesday, July 6

Great Day For Us Kids, Not The Cat

The Fourth of July was always a great day for us kids. Now we can terrorize the neighborhood with our firecrackers and it will all be legal. Firecrackers of various kinds were the real thing back in the 40s. Not like the wimpy stuff they sell today. The M-80s and the Cherry Bombs were terrific. We got our money’s worth with each explosion. They could be dangerous, too, which we learned from experience. Our group usually pooled all our nickels and dimes and then we went shopping for the good stuff. We didn't care about smoke bombs or Roman candles. Those were for girls. “Look mom, at my sparkler!”.

I still remember one Fourth when we had enough money to buy a big Cherry Bomb. The big one. It cost a whole dollar. It was so big it had its own wooden base and it had to be erect, pointing at the sky, before you lit the big fuse. Our youngest member, Burley Horn, wanted to be the one to shoot it. So we set up the bomb and give him a match and we all backed off looking for a safe place to hide. Well Burley was a little nervous and when he lit the fuse he jumped out of there in a hurry knocking the stand over in the process. Now it was in a horizontal mode, which was not good. It was pointed down Laurel Street directly toward Charles Davis’s house on the corner. The fist explosion was the launching charge that got the cherry bomb going. The big round bomb came out of the chute at flank speed, bounced down the middle of the street and went right into the gate in the front yard followed by a tremendous explosion. Now remember that cherry bomb was supposed to be a hundred feet in the air when it went off. Mrs. Davis came screaming out the front door, “What the hell was that?” Fortunately, by that time, we had all made a hurried escape and there was no body left on the scene.

Later we were cruising around Upper Broadway looking for other things when we came upon Mrs. Waltman’s white cat. Now, Mrs. Waltman was the principal of that school and also taught eighth grade. She was not our favorite. The cat was a little unusual because it had one blue eye and one green eye. We thought it would be neat to tie a small pack of fire crackers to his tail and see how fast he was. Well, he turned out to be pretty fast. Before the second cracker went off he was already sitting on top of his favorite telephone pole. After that he had no other choice but to sit there and count off ten or twelve more.

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