Friday, 2 November 2012


I suppose I should have written about this subject before Halloween but I didn't think of it in time. Firecrackers were one of the most memerable aspects of the holiday for me and my generation. We could easily find them for sale in corner grocery stores back then.

One of the incidents that I left out of my Deliverance from Jericho memoir was the evening one of the supervisors, who I referred to as Mr. Thynne, took us down to the school's playground to light the firecrackers we purchased. Since the totally blind kids couldn't see the end of the fuse, Mr. Thynne helped light it. Then he told the boy to throw it.

I asked Mr. Thynne if I could put mine inside of the pipe that the teatertotters rested on. When the firecracker exploded, it made a hollow sound. I expected that it would shoot out of the pipe but it didn't.

Another supervisor showed us how an exploding firecracker could make a can jump off the floor. He led us down the dorm's stairs and into the breezway. Then he lit a firecracker and placed the can over it. We all cheered when the can lept off the cement. Pleasing us even more, he let us each have a turn placing the can over our lit firecrackers.

We had fun with our firecrackers without the supervisor's help as well. The local store sold bundles of tiny firecrackers for a dime each. I felt that lighting the end of the fuse and having the whole bundle go off in rapid succession was a waste of my precious allowance money. We only received fifty cents a week. If we blew it, we couldn't beg or borrow any extra money until the next allowance payment. This taught us to be thrifty.

During one recess, I unwound the fusess from the main fuse. Lighting individual firecrackers made the experience last longer.

Since the can experiment worked so well, I put firecrackers inside bullet shells. A friend had given me a handful of them when we went to a rifle range one Saturday. The force of the explosions sent the shellsabout fifteen feet away. Not only was I pleased with the discovery but no teacher stopped me and confiscated my firecrackers.

Deliverance from Jericho (Six Years in a Blind School) describes what life was like in Canada's infamous institution, closed down in 1992 due to rampant sexual abuse of deaf students.

I've recently published How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Use the search box at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm to learn more about it.


  1. When I was a kid in Tucson, Arizona, we went to public fireworks displays every year, and I loved to watch the colored lights shoot into the sky in many shapes and sizes. After we moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, there weren't many public displays so Dad lit them for us in the middle of the street which was illegal. One night, Grandma came driving slowly down the street towards Dad who was just about to light one, and he panicked, thinking it was a police car.

  2. When we were living in Sheridan, Wyoming, my brother loved to put small firecrackers in cigarettes. Since my parents and other adults in our family smoked, he called this his war against smoking.

    One night while my uncle and aunt and cousins from Colorado were visiting, we were in a nice restaurant about to eat dinner. As the waitress was about to tell us what the specials were, my uncle was lighting a cigarette that had been tampered with by my brother. The waitress's speech went like this. "Tonight our specials are, POP, exploding cigarettes."

    Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of
    We Shall Overcome
    How to Build a Better Mousetrap:
    Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver


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