My childhood in New Orleans is full of happy memories playing with neighborhood friends. I loved riding my bike and roller skating up and down the sidewalks of our quiet street. Our neighbors would have huge block parties several times a year. Barriers would block our street so cars could not drive down it. The grown-ups cooked a smorgasbord of various kinds of food. My mom, a piano teacher, would roll our piano out into the street and provide music for everyone. Lawn chairs would be sprawled out to sit in and picnic tables set up to eat on. The children spent days practicing for the talent show we put on for the adults. Our next door neighbor’s mom was a seamstress and would help with costumes. We had so much fun prancing around our parents and making them laugh.
One particular block party was always around the Fourth of July. The heat and mosquitoes never stopped us from having fun, though. We always stayed up way too late so we could set off fireworks.
I was watching the explosion in the sky when all of the sudden I heard screaming. I looked up to find people hovered around an older boy I did not know very well. I ran over to see what all the commotion was about when my mom stopped me.
“Don’t go over there, honey,” she said.
“Why not? What happened?” I asked.
“That teenager had a firework explode in his hand and burn it. We’re going in now.”
I couldn’t believe that had happened. I was always overly concerned when it came to accidents, so I reluctantly followed my family inside, turning around several times to sneak a peek. The boy was taken to the hospital and the next time I saw him, his hand was all bandaged up. Since then, I have stayed away from firecrackers.