On the eve of the Fourth of July, perhaps the first our kids will see a fireworks show (we'll see how tired they are tomorrow evening), I was trying to recall my most memorable Independence Day from my youth. A few came to mind (and no, I don't remember anything specific about the Bicentennial, though check out my new Back in time video):
-- My godparents' old house was near the end of a suburban parade route, and we went there about every year in the morning to watch. Sometimes we'd stay and see the big fireworks or whatever my dad and uncle procured (fireworks are very illegal in Illinois).
-- There was one year Dad somehow snagged a couple bricks of firecrackers and a bag of M-80s (they actually might have been M-100s). He gave a lot of the booming things to my older friends, but those M-whatevers were fun.
-- We went to Arlington Park Racetrack one year to watch fireworks, and a tree on the infield caught fire. Kind of prophetic -- a few years later, the whole place burned down.
There were others, visiting my grandparents' camper, spending the day blowing off fireworks with friends, etc. But the one I'm going with as most memorable is 1987, not for any patriotic reason, but because I was such a videogame geek. We were at the godparents again, but this was their new house away from the parade route. We did go see their suburb's big fireworks show, there was grilling before, it was fun. The real show, for me, was the new Nintendo my cousins had. It was just as the NES was getting popular and the next videogame explosion was occurring. I was 16, and I shouldn't have been as giddy as an 11-year-old, but I was.
My cousins had Super Mario Brothers, Baseball and Duck Hunt. I was so impressed with Super Mario, that my aunt offered to let me stay overnight so I could play it more. I know I eventually got to sleep, but not before watching a little MTV (we didn't have it at home) and seeing the video for "Heart and Soul" by T'Pau, which was one of my favorite songs that summer.
After high school, most of the good July 4s were at or around Summerfest in Milwaukee (including the first summer Wife and I were dating). The last few years have been fun with our neighborhood's bike parade, this year Eldest will ride his. Time for new memories, and hopefully there won't be any videogames involved with these.