My dad’s siblings who lived locally gathered at our house for holidays, along with my mother’s brother and his wife. My cousin Marjorie much later remembered these celebrations as command performances. Lots of work for my mother, though my aunts helped with the clean-up.
I think Tom and I enjoyed playing with Marjorie and her sister Libbie or just talking when we were older.
Sometimes there were family fire-works, like the quarrel Uncles Mike and George had over how much liquor should go into the punch they were concocting.
One year, there were actual fireworks when one uncle brought them to fire off in our yard which was large because it included three vacant lots that we mowed for a playground.
Dad was very anxious over safety. The rule against swimming in Lake Michigan was violated often when we children learned to drive. There never was a BB gun in the house, though pocket knives were OK.
Fireworks in the yard was unthinkable! And unnecessary because we could watch the public display in the nearby park from our front stoop.
Dad was angry when he saw that an uncle had brought fireworks and became furious when Uncle Mike (probably) ignored Dad’s order to put them away. Now we’ve got Dad shouting, uncles laughing, firecrackers popping, and rockets zipping here and there over the ground. I don’t remember and can’t imagine how all this entertainment ended.
Surely, we were all back together again for Thanksgiving when the issue was dull knives and Dad showed his persistence with a questionablre idea, no uncles involved.
Wilmette’s fireworks show is held at the water-front park about 3/4 mile from our house; the rockets are fired from barges out on the lake. Without the noble trees here, we’d be able to see them.
Yesterday, I heard a journalist say on the radio that she does not attend fireworks displays, said, “I’ve been in too many war zones.”
As the booming and swishing and cracking started this evening over families gathered to share the excitement of the show, I thought of her and the enormous number of people trying to live in war zones for whom these sounds are terrifying
And then I remembered that during our Civil War civilians did pack a lunch and go to a battlefield for entertainment. Some packed a wagon with food to sell. Pictures exist showing civilians on high ground observing the slaughter and even mixing with the troops down below.
One Fourth of July evening I had a window seat on a plane flying over the U.S. From? To? I remember nothing about the trip except the fireworks. It seemed that all the little towns below had fireworks shows. Their colorful explosions looked to me like flowers that continually burst from the ground, grew, and faded,