It’s late June. School let out a couple weeks ago, the Little League season is in full swing; the days are warm and long. Months of delivering newspapers at five in the morning is about to pay off. The fireworks stands just opened!

Carefully counting out a stack of dollar bills from the drawer, I set out on a well used Schwinn to purchase my treasure – bottle rockets, Zebra firecrackers, whistling chasers, aerial flash bombs, and those wonderful 2” salutes. Back in the neighborhood, boys get together to compare their purchases, trade this for that, and prepare to do some serious pre-holiday testing.

We prefer balloon sticks to punks because we can puff on them and it looks like we are smoking; drawing stares from the adults as they drive by. We range the streets and blocks for hours enjoying the dull thump of a salute dropped down a manhole cover or a bottle rocket launched at a tree full of starlings. No dog or cat is safe from a good scare should we spy it skulking across the road or in a bush. An occasional harsh word from a resident sends us a half block away to resume our ecstasy. By the time the real Independence Day arrives, we are down to about 1/3 of our stock.

Ike is President, the nation is at peace, Detroit is humming and the tailfins get more ostentatious every year. We can hardly wait to become teenagers and dress up to apply for an appearance on American Bandstand. We want to join the Army or Navy the minute we finish high school so we can learn to parachute or ride in a submarine.

Enjoy this catchy little tune from the time that made the Top 40 in both 1958 and 1962 by the same group – The Jamies:


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jeff Bowman on July 2, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Technology has made it easy for parents to use electronics for babysitting their children. Th eold days of sitting in front of a black & white TV, eating popcorn and watching a movie for the family are gone. Kids today need to go to the movie theather, watch something in 3D while paying 20 bucks.

    But it’s just not the kids but the parents also. 35 and 40 year old Moms dressing like their teenage daughters. Dads hosting beer parties for the kids and playing “beer pong” with them. Moral compasses are either broke or not even taught.

    But there are still some simple facts. There are winners and losers, life isn’t always fair and if you thinking you are bigger & better than the person next to you, he just hasn’t kicked your butt yet.



    • Semper Fi Marine!

      Just be glad you don’t have any of those tax financed stadiums nearby. You could buy a decent used car for what you would pay to take two kids to a baseball game around here. That makes a 3D movie at $20 into a real deal.

      All it takes to be a winner in America is to go light on the booze, stay off the dope, and show up for work on time all week long. Do what the boss says, don’t steal, and accept personal responsibility for your own mistakes. Those who will not follow these simple guidelines are “self made” losers.



  2. Posted by Tony Goedde on July 2, 2010 at 8:33 am

    I loved the 70’s and 80’s as a kid. Lighting fireworks and racing pine box cars down hills we shouldn’t have been on. Now kids are regulated right out of the things that build character and spur imagination. We are going to have a bunch of mush minded welfare recipients at this rate.


    • We drive them to & from school, soccer & ballet lessons. We do their homework for them, sic a lawyer on a teacher who gives them a bad grade, and hand them an idiot box to play with in their spare time. We do not let them work, play dodge ball, cowboys & indians,
      or Army. Heaven forbid they play in the mud, climb a tree, or light a sparkler. Then we pay their way through college where they can major in some useless, esoteric subject like psycology, diversity, or Norwegian Poetry. They will enter the world as helpless as a hatchery salmon with no experience, common sense, street smarts, practical education, or work ethic. No wonder Bill Gates has to scour the planet for code crunchers and engineers.



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