Thinking back to the 1930's-40's and my childhood spent in Rome, Illinois. Our family was getting by but there was never much money for a lot of extra things. Despite that, I remember my childhood fondly and don't remember ever feeling depressed or envious of others for having things that we didn't have. It was a fact, though, that in the little town of Rome, almost everyone was in the same boat so there were only a few families that lived in much nicer homes and were able to give their kids more. Back then, of course, there was not nearly as much "stuff" to want. The things we have to choose from today blow my mind and I think it must be harder today for a family struggling to get by than it was way back when. Everyone has more clothes, more toys, more electronics, etc., than we could have ever imagined.
I am thinking the Fourth of July and how we celebrated. There was never a lot of fireworks nor do I remember going anywhere to see displays. We did have a few and my absolute favorite was the cap gun with the rolls of caps to load into it and shoot to your hearts content. It made a decent "bang" and smoked and smelled like gunfire. I thought those were such fun - but I am sure no one has them anymore. And, for the life of me, I can't remember whether or not we got them for our kids! Will have to ask them since I am sure they would remember. We were never exposed to anything violent when I was a child since there was no television, video games and the movies were very different than those of today. We would play "Cops and Robbers" or "Cowboys and Indians" and that's where the pretend shooting took place. If you were the one "shot" you fell from your horse and expired with much flair and dramatics but not for long as you got right back into the game. What a different world it was then.
Sparklers! How fun were those? How magical to swing them around in circles and watch the sparks fly. The last time - which was a few years ago - I had a sparkler it was pretty wimpy compared to what they were when I was little. Or maybe I just remember them as being much, much better. Kind of like the way I remember how candy bars used to be so much better than now!
And the snakes! Loved those also. Great fun watching that big old black ash grow and grow and curl and break.
As for the firecrackers, I was always kind of afraid of them. I would put one under a can with the wick exposed, light the wink with a punk (is that the word) and turn and run. Fun to see the can fly in the air. I also recall some little, bitty firecrackers that were all together and we would light the wick and how it would pop, pop, pop! Were those called ladyfingers? Asked and answered - just googled them and that's what they were.
Enjoy the Fourth of July!