I grew up in South Pasadena. Back in the day, the 4th of July was really boring because fireworks were not permitted. One year, just a couple of days before the 4th, my friend, Tisa and I hopped on our bicycles and rode to Alhambra where the Unimart/Disco Fair/Two Guys, a membership department store, was (I’m not sure which one it was at the time!). We headed for the fireworks stand that was on the end of the store parking lot. After much window shopping, we selected a packet of snake pellets and a Fountain of Pearls.
On the 4th of July, my grandparents had come over to our house to play cards and have barbecue. After dinner, the bridge game resumed so I went outside to meet Tisa. She had her overnight tote, ready for another sleep-over. After depositing her stuff upstairs in my bedroom, I grabbed the bag of fireworks and we went out to the front yard.
While we waited for the sun to set, we lit the snake pellets and watched as they expanded into a trail of ash. It seemed like it was taking forever for it to get dark. Just before the sun began to sink below the horizon, we came up with a scathingly brilliant idea. We thought it would be funny to paint a ‘stop line’ on the street across from my house. We ran to my garage and found a can of white spray paint. Back on the street, we carefully painted a line from the curb to the center of the street. We painted the word “STOP” beneath the line. It almost looked official!
Finally, it was dark and time for the Fountain of Pearls! We set the cone-shaped firework in the middle of the street and Tisa lit it. We quickly sat down on the curb and watched. It began to spit and sputter and then.....nothing! We stared in disbelief! We were sure we had been gypped!
After a long, anxious pause the sparks began to shoot up. A few short, scattered sparks sputtered first...then, the display shot into the night sky nearly two stories high! The cone exploded with sparks rocketing straight up, illuminating the entire street! We started laughing hysterically! The roar of the firework shower continued for what seemed to be forever! We began to wonder if it was ever going to stop!
Hearing the commotion and seeing the bright ‘something’ in the street, my parents and grandparents jumped up, dashed out the front door and stood on the front porch, watching in disbelief. This made it even funnier! My dad, however, was not amused. A few selective words were exchanged between my parents before the adults retreated into the house. Tisa and I began to laugh again.
We sat there on the curb, hysterical with laughter, retelling the story and laughing into the night. At one point, a car came down the street and suddenly slammed on its breaks right in front of us, stopping at our faux ‘stop line’! Another round of laughter ensued!
Finally, when we had caught our breath and had settled down, we knew it was time to call it a night. When we were sure we were all laughed-out, we returned to my house....via the back door! As we climbed up the stairs, the sound of our muffled giggles indicated to my parents that we were safely inside for the night.
Tisa and me