Ginger Martin's Blog

4th of July Memory

When I was a kid back in the 70s we played with Jarts and Click-Clacks and other stuff that is now considered dangerous and are no longer manufactured.  My parents still have all those toys in a box at their house and whenever I go home we pull them out and play with them just like we did 40 years ago.  No one ever got hurt by these things at my house.  We all had fun with them as a family.  

I think the fireworks were different then too.  And I have a story that I only just told my parents about a couple of years ago.  It was the summer of 1978 (I think) and I was home alone for a couple of hours while my parents and brother went somewhere (don't remember those details).
It was a very hot, dry summer and the lawn in the backyard was scorched brown.  I decided to entertain myself by grabbing a package of sparklers and sticking them into the ground in a pretty shape to light them all at once to make a little sparkler display.  These were the fancy kind of sparklers that changed color as they burned down and they were all wrapped in colored tissue paper.  My display is set up and I have my matches ready.  I strike my match and start lighting the sparklers at the top where the tissue paper is all twisted up to make a wick.  As the tissue paper starts to burn down it also starts to fall off the top of the sparkler....still on fire, of course.  Well, as the burning tissue paper falls to the scorched brown grass you can only imagine what happens next.  Yep.  The scorched brown grass starts on FIRE.  And it starts spreading fast!  If I had shoes on I would have stamped on the fire to put it out.  But what kid wears shoes in the summer if they don't have to.  I STILL don't wear shoes outside in the summer.  It was a good thing the garden hose was hooked up and close by.  I quickly ran to turn it on and put out the grass fire.  Not before a large portion of it was burned.  What a huge catastrophe it would have been had I not been able to put out that fire.  I shudder to think about it.  

I remember standing there shaking and I went back into the house to wait for my parents to come home.  I did not tell them what happened.  I was waiting for them to ask what happened to the lawn.  I would have told them the truth had they asked and taken my punishment....but they never, ever said anything about the lawn.  Maybe it didn't look as bad as I thought since it was all scorched anyway.  Whatever the reason, my parents did not find out about the lawn fire until years later.  Their eyes got big when I told them the story.  I think my father was a little angry at the thought of what might have happened but he hid it well and we can all laugh about it now. 

I don't know if they still make those fancy sparklers wrapped in tissue paper like they did in the 70s but if they do let this story be a lesson.  Do NOT leave your kids home alone with fireworks in the house.  Do NOT stick sparklers in the ground to light them.  Do NOT let your kids play with sparklers without shoes on.  Do NOT let your kids play with sparklers without your supervision...even if they are 12 years old.  DO have a safe and happy 4th of July holiday and enjoy whatever fireworks you chose to shoot off as a family.  Light a sparkler for me.  :)      

07/02/2013 8:56AM
4th of July Memory
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Jim Bartlett
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