Happy 4th one and all. I know it’s been a long time since I last blogged, but I’m an expert procrastinator. Actually, one of my twitter followers (of which there are over 7,000!! can you believe it?) asked why I hadn’t written an entry in a while. So, I told her I’d do one for the 4th of July. If you’re wondering how I accrued this vast number of followers, I’m not really sure. I started my account @phillipsayn when I began appearing on BRAVO’s new show “The Peoples Couch” 4 years ago. It’s like “the little engine that could”….we just kept chugging along, and now we’re hoping to be renewed for a 5th season – “god willing and the creek don’t rise” (an old San Antonio saying)
Speaking of San Antonio, when I was growing up in the in our house, a very simple pre-war – That’s WWII- 3 bedroom, 1 bath stucco home on Magnolia. My parents later had a patio laid out the back door. Since we didn’t have central air for years, it was a favorite, cooler, evening gathering place. Every 4th, I remember my entire family coming over (actually, almost all of the “parties” we had consisted of the family.) So, we’d be on the patio with iced cold water melon slices, most of the adults smoking (my Dad’s brand was Pall Malls, no filter), & probably drinking “shnops”. My cousins and I would spit the seeds out as far as we could into the yard; the juice running down our chins. It was so nice! No fireworks (maybe Jewish parents were afraid, god forbid, the kids might get hurt…who knows?). But we did have these little balls that you could thrown down hard on the cement and they would pop! Big whoop. (I didn’t remember them until I started writing this paragraph).
But the biggest excitement for me, and something I looked forward to every year, were the “SPARKLERS”! Remember those sticks, that when lit would fizzles, & shoot out mini shooting stars? Today, most kids would probably say “Is that it?”. But for me, their memory has stayed with me all these years. I tried to buy some once when I was an adult, but I don’t think they make them any more. What a shame. Oh, and by the way, a week or so after the 4th, we’d see little watermelon plants start shooting up in the yard, but in the Texas heat, they didn’t survive too long. Plus, I doubt I’d ever have been patient enough to wait the time it would take for a full blown melon to actually mature!
Then in the 60’s, my parents joined a “country club”, mainly because it had a private golf course for my father (believe me, we weren’t the country club type). His usual community golf course had a huge waiting list for a t-off. My father, MHRIP, lived for his golf games. I think he even made a hole in one, once! So, on the 4th, the club would serve a sumptuous buffet. For my brothers and I it was an all you could eat dream. We ate it all….especially the desserts. Then with stomachs bulging, everyone would walk out onto the golf course and sit on provided folding chairs to await a fireworks display. All the kids just laid flat on the ground, looking up at the night sky. How magical each boom created a shinning, shimmering blast of colors in various directions. Some were even set up to have delayed extra spurts. Some fanned out into arcs, stars, and arrows; others had spinning orbs. The noise and colors, the full stomach, the cool grass, the oohs and ahs, created a perfect childhood memory.
I don’t remember later 4ths. Except, when I was dating a guy, who was a fellow University of Texas student & whom I would eventually marry, he brought over some fireworks one night, and lit them before throwing them into the sky. I was really apprehensive about the whole thing. The hissing noise and the explosion made me very uncomfortable. I thought, why did he enjoy doing this? But, of course, being the docile, nice Jewish girl that I was, I never said anything about it. Just stood there, seeming to admire his manliness & bravery. Hadn’t thought about that in years, either.
Then at least 15 years later, the man I was “dating” & his kids and mine went to a fireworks display night with a friend of his who had a pick up truck. I’d never known anyone who drove one of those. I really, really liked these “down to earth” kind of people. So we all climbed into the truck bed (it wasn’t against the law back then – just plain dangerous) & joyfully rode out to the grassy, out of the city area. We put out blankets. I felt so good, so relaxed, being with a guy who was nice to me and my kids; and who really seemed to enjoy being with us; he never got angry or upset. It was a peaceful, calm evening. And I missed doing “simple” things like this. I remember though, that for some reasons, pieces of the fireworks would rain down on the spectators below. That was not pleasant. And, being the concerned Jewish Mother that I was, and still am, I worried for my children. But we all survived.
Then many years later, in my second marriage, living in San Antonio once again, my second husband and I would drive out to a college parking lot, high on a hill, overlooking downtown San Antonio, and we’d watch the yearly display from there. Not as memorable, but nice.
Last year, here in Burbank, a group of “women friends” who live in my apartment building, get together, picked up Greek wraps, garlic sauce, bringing bottles of wine, and took it all to the Starlight Bowl, for an outdoor Sock Hop concert followed by fireworks. We at in the park first at typical picnic tables (starting the wine flowing) and continued into our reserved seats, with more wine. Since the music was from my generation & because I’m not a shy person, some of us would stand up and dance in the aisle. The fireworks were probably the best I’d ever seen. We’re going again this year (tomorrow), and I’m really looking forward to it.
So, that’s it for a walk down memory lane. I wish all of you a happy & SAFE 4th. Have a designated driver, if needed; & watch out for those other drunk drivers!
Ayn, The Baby Boomer Bubbie
BTW, if you ever have questions for me, please feel free to ask. I’d love to interact with you.