Fourth of July, 1947

By Keith Gibson

The last day of school had finally arrived, after 9 long months cooped up in the local gulag.

We hurried home to get out of our school clothes, head down to Johnny the barber’s shop to get our long awaited “butch” haircut for the summer.

Next stop was the McGill Drug store where we browsed thru the racks of highly intelligent tomes of knowledge.

My favorite one was Captain Marvel.  With a hard earned thin dime we bought the magazine of choice.  The choice was based on the best selection of fireworks inside the back cover. Yes, Myrtle, we kids could order our own fireworks.

The next stop was the money order window at the post office. There were windows for special things like letters, parcels, money orders. etc.  I cashed in my postal savings stamps, (better rate than the banks), and bought an money order and a three cent stamp for the envelope.

Letters were three cents, postcards were one cent (penny postcards).  The next day the vigil started, as we expected delivery quickly.  It was imperative to get them before the 4th.

Every day we hit the post office and peeked thru the little glass window in the mailbox door looking for the pink parcel slip.

It seemed like several long years passed before our fireworks arrived.  It was like Christmas all over again.  We compared kits with each other and made a few trades.

There were 2 and 3 inch firecrackers, cherry bombs, packets of Chinese firecrackers, tiny lady fingers, small rockets, Roman candles and much more.  We used up a lot of the kit before July 4th.  That day we would be very busy getting into band uniforms and marching in the long parade.

Lots of floats, bands and of course plenty of horses. After the parade we shed our uniforms and joined the other folks at the park for the foot races, etc.  Late in the afternoon we were at the creeks fishing and picnicking. Just before dark we drove back to town to watch the huge fireworks display at the fairgrounds.

It was a real red, white and blue patriotic day.  The years right after WWII were quite special.  We were all so very grateful for being safe and secure thanks to the Greatest Generation.