Independence day and memories of other summers go hand in hand. I remember so many warm summer days in my childhood. On the fourth we would wake up early so we could start setting off the ladyfinger firecrackers. We always bought the big package of firecrackers and separated the string into individual firecrackers so we could set them off one by one. After lighting the punk we would place the firecrackers in voids in the mortar between the stones in the stone columns supporting the corners of the front porch. Each void would act as a little cave for the cracker to blow out of. They weren't extremely loud, but a lot of fun. Sometimes the fuse wouldn't work, so we would break the firecracker in half and set the powder off so it would fizzle and scoot around on the concrete. The world was filled with the sounds of firecrackers on the fourth of July. Sparklers and snakes were popular too, but not as much fun. We never got into the larger fireworks (too expensive and too quickly gone). We would have loved bottle rockets but they came along much later - the closest thing to them were the roman candles, but they only shot off 6 or 7 times before burning out.
Summers were pretty hot and nobody had air conditioning. You tried to spend your days outside under the trees. We would turn on the lawn sprinkler and run back and fourth through the cool water. When we were really small, mom would set out one of the wash tubs (a large galvanized metal tub about 2 feet in diameter and maybe 18 inches deep) filled with cool water that we could sit in. One summer, it got so hot that dad brought home one of the industrial fans from the bakery and we set a wash tube with a block of ice in it in front of the fan and just sat back and felt the cool moist air rush past us. On the really hot summer evenings, we would make up a sleeping roll and sleep out on the porch. Later, when I was a teenager, dad put in an attic fan and we would open the windows by the beds and the attic fan would exhaust the warm house air and suck in the cooler outside air over the beds. By morning, the cool air would force us under the blankets. About the only places in town with air conditioning were the movie theaters (maybe a few drugstores). We could go to the movies and sit through a double feature for about a dime and spend another 15 cents on popcorn and candy and enjoy hours of cool entertainment. Every Sunday the folks would drop off my sister and I at the designated movie and then pick us up after the shows in 3 to 4 hours. It gave everyone a break.