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34-07-04 But Mom, It's the Fourth of July!

  • It's the Fourth of July and Rush wakes Vic at 5 in the morning. Vic had said he wanted to get an early start so Rush is being helpful. His parents are horrified at the earliness of this wake-up call. Sade's furious and Rush tells her he only meant to wake Vic. Sade wants to know why. He wants to ask Vic how to light a Chinese Choker. It's got fuses on both ends.
  • Sade's horrified that Rush intends to shoot off fireworks so early. She sends him back to bed. Vic insists he wanted to rise at seven. Rush said he doesn't remember that. Rush protests, saying that it's patriotic to celebrate early. 
  • Sade mentions he'd likely wake up Mis' Fisher. Rush says you have to expect to get woke up early on the Fourth of July. 
  • Vic's tired of listening to this debate. Sade tries to send Rush back to bed again. She warns: just don't shoot off any firecrackers. He wants to know what time he can start -- he then suggests 5:45 would be reasonable. Sade says he can start when the alarm clock goes off at seven. Rush intends to wait in the hall outside their bedroom so he's sure to hear the alarm.
  • Sade's awake and muses aloud, wondering what Mis' Brighton will wear at the exhibition baseball game.  Vic's fed up and suggests he'll call Mis' Brighton at five a.m. to ask her. Rush returns to check the alarm clock.  
  • Vic's disgusted, and Sade reminds him that when he was a boy he and Adolph Walters put a chunk of dynamite in a water-spout an' … Vic: "You can pick out one sin in everybody's life."  Sade: "How about the time you an' the farmer boy stood out behind the minister's house at midnight an' pounded on a tin washtub til the constable… or how about the Fourth of July you kids took the bunch of roman candles an' went up on the roof an' shot ‘em at…"
  • Vic and Sade settle to return to sleep when Rush is heard from the other room: "Hi, Joe! Happy Fourth of July!"
    Sade: "He's talkin' to the milkman." Rush lists his fireworks inventory for Joe; the milkman leaves.
  • Rush returns to check the time again.  Sade tells him not to holler anymore. Rush agrees to sleep on the floor outside their room so he'll hear the alarm.
  • Sade raises an issue with Vic: whether Mis' Brighton will feel slighted being invited to eat at the park rather than at the Gooks' home.
  • Sade points out Rush is asleep on the floor. She's afraid he'll get a crick in his back and be lame all day.
  • Sade suggests they set the alarm off and shoot fireworks.
    She reminds Vic of "the time you and Herman McGillicuddy an' Wheeler Evans took a milk bottle full of gunpowder an' put it underneath…" Vic concedes. Sade sets the alarm off. Rush wakes: "Here's that doggone Chinese Choker! Got a match?!" - compiled by Barbara Schwarz, edited by Jimbo Mason
In a 1934 world where about the most fun a kid could have was to go to the movies or listen to the radio, imagine having a stock of fireworks for the Fourth of July!  It must have been like Christmas.


  1. Only Jean Shepherd's writing about Fourth Of July fireworks is as memorable. All men are little boys at heart and fireworks seems to bring out the boy in many of us.

  2. Why would kids only have fun if it involved movies or radio ? Rush was also playing baseball, riding a bike, swimming at the lake and bumming around. Even when I was growing up in the 1970's, just being outside and playing was fun.