Tuesday, 5 November 2013


Are you old enough to remember when children could buy firecrackers at any store which sold them? It isn't like that in many counties and countries today. Some bylaws forbid the lighting of firecrackers or even the sale of them.

I fondly remember how one of the good supervisors at Jericho Hill School for the deaf and Blind showed us how a firecracker could make a tin can jump off the ground. One evening, he led a group of us boys down to the breezeway of our dorm and placed a lit firecracker on the cement, then he quickly placed a can over it. We all gasped and then cheered when the tin leapt a few feet before clattering on the concrete.

The next Friday evening, we each bought  ourselves strings of tiny firecrackers. A five-inch string of them only cost a dime back then. Some boys lit the fuse and let the entire string of firecrackers go off behind the classrooms during recess the next Monday morning. I felt disappointed when my string of tiny explosives finished after such a short time. I only received fifty cents per week allowance so lighting the whole string at once seemed such a waste.

Then I got the idea of untying the little red crackers and lighting them one by one. That made my supply of them last much longer. Lighting the fuse which connected them and seeing it fizzle was fun to watch as well.

Remembering our supervisor's can demonstration, I decided to put firecrackers in bullet shells that a friend had given me. The distance those projectiles flew after I lit the fuse astonished and delighted me. Naturally I was careful not to point them at anybody.

As with all laws and bylaws, the prohibition of lighting firecrackers came about because of people being stupid with them. I was careful not to aim my bullet shells at others and to light them outdoors. I had learned through hard experiences about how toys could be confiscated by supervisors for whatever reasons they deemed necessary. The fun of all us boys had been ruined many times by one thoughtless act.

I wrote about my years at the blind school in Deliverance from Jericho. It, and my debut paperback are available through the Bruce Atchison's books page.

I have a new book out called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Virtual Bookworm Publishers.

1 comment:

  1. My family didn't buy firecrackers until we moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, in 1973. This was because in Tucson, Arizona, where we lived before, we could watch fireworks displays at the nearby university on the 4th of July. When we moved to Sheridan, there were no fireworks displays we could attend so every year, Dad drove us to a fireworks stand, and despite the illegality of it, we celebrated our nation's independence by lighting them in our street where there was very little traffic. One night, Dad was kneeling in the middle of the street, ready to light one, when a car came slowly towards him. We all panicked because we thought it was a cop, but it turned out to be Grandma.


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