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Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Fireworks - Memories

Bundled up in hats and winter coats, squeezed in the crowd and pushed to the front by kind strangers, my children watched the fireworks together. One had his hands over his ears, though his enjoyment was evident. My daughter squeezed back to be held by me after a minute or two, then squirmed out of my arms to go to snuggle up with Michael instead.

Gazing up, half-watching the display, half-watching my children, crowds of memories of past fireworks displays pressed in too.

Walking up to watch the fireworks pushing a buggy with our eldest inside, just 5 weeks old. Weary with sleeplessness, though excited to be parents and anticipating the future firework displays our little boy would one day enjoy with us.

I remember as a child refusing to leave the house to watch the fireworks in our back garden as I was terrified of injury after a graphic presentation by a local fireman visiting our school. At about 5 years old, the pictures of burns received by those injured by fireworks had a deep affect that lasted a number of years.

Toffee apples were sold for bonfire night at my primary school. Sticky sweetness that lasted half an evening, followed by the crisp crunch of apple.

Later, I remember going to the display at the local rugby club. Mud everywhere, treacle toffee, the lighting of the bonfire complete with the Guy on top; trying to keep track of parents in the dark; the weary walk home in the evening.

As a teenager, I sometimes went with friends. We'd buy the over priced glow sticks that sensible adults had refused to waste money on when we were younger, and threw ourselves into the fun of the evening.

Our eldest is now 11, and we've had a decade of bonfire nights with our own children. One year, there was a mistake at a Beavers display that Michael took the older two boys to, with a firework going in the wrong direction. They all came home early and scared! This fear continued for the next couple of years. After my childhood fears, I had plenty of empathy for them.

Since we now live on a hill, we've also had plenty of fun together watching fireworks out of the window. Last week, two of the boys were watching together, with the 9 year old reading aloud to the 7 year old about Guy Fawkes.

Watching the Fireworks


Tonight, they were unafraid. Cheerful and enthusiastic, content to watch and chat to each other happily, they are storing up memories, shared family memories, of their own.

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