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Chuck Hinman IJMA No. 315: Memories of 4th of July's Past

Even in dust bowl days of the 1930's, Chuck Hinman's very practical mother recognized the importance of a little foolish spending on the Fourth of July

The next earlier Chuck Hinman column: Chuck Hinman: A smell that really turns me on

By Chuck Hinman

Growing up on a farm in Nebraska in the dust-bowl days of the "30s" meant we had little money to spend on foolishness such as fireworks. Even so, Mom recognized the importance to kids of a little foolish spending on occasions such as the 4th of July.

Apparently she squeezed the old laying hens a little harder before the 4th of July, so there was "egg-money" for each of us three kids to have a package of firecrackers, a couple Roman candles, and a package of sparklers. We kids thought we were in "hog-heaven" with such extravagance!

In those days the wrappings on the fireworks had oriental symbols indicating they were imported from China. Apparently there wasn't widespread production of these products in the USA as there is now. That seems strange since the 4th of July is an American holiday!

Living on the farm, there was no ban on setting off fireworks like there was in town. Not many families escaped some mishaps in the careless handling of fireworks.

To keep from using the world's supply of kitchen matches setting off the fireworks, you could buy a slow-burning product in the form of a stick called punk.

Firecrackers had a lot of duds and in trying to get a dud to explode occasionally you would hold it too long and get a nasty burn. Some of the more daring boys would break a dud firecracker in half exposing the explosive powder and light it causing it to send out some sparks but it wasn't dangerous.

Home-made vanilla ice-cream was synonymous with the 4th of July.

I imagine most everyone here at Tallgrass Estates have fond memories of their family's celebration of 4th of Julys.

- Chuck Hinman, emailed Friday, 3 July 2009

This story was posted on 2012-07-01 08:42:32
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