Happy New Year

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Two Rivers

Things that kids do.

Submitted: December 08, 2017

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Submitted: December 08, 2017



The weather refused to give any comfort on this dark, dismal December day.  I was ten years old, walking to my friend’s house after school.  Claude Weimer had volunteered to show me how to make gunpowder.  He was a year older than the rest of us in our class and, in my estimation, a genius.  He lived next door to a church, and as I passed it, I remembered what my mother had said about praying for peace.  My brother, Louis, was in Korea and at this time at the height of the Korean War.  I felt sad that we might not live to see him come home.  Believing we would all be taken out by the atomic bomb, I prayed, “God, let us make it to New Years.”

My family didn’t make a big fuss about birthdays and holidays.  On our birthdays my mom would turn our plate upside down and put one gift under it.  Then she’d put our card on top.  I usually got a pair of jeans or a shirt.  My sister, Jane, never ate breakfast and her gift remained under the upside down plate until supper time.  Christmas was simple with one or two gifts, and an old tree left over from the Christmas trees sold at Wilt’s grocery store.  But, New Year’s Eve seemed special to my mother and step-dad. 

I remember going to bed, and then they would wake me at midnight to stand in front of the open front door to hear the church bells, sirens, and maybe one or two firecrackers go off.  After a few minutes, it was all over and my mother would say, “Well, we made it through another year, and we’d all go to bed.

Claude Weimer mixed up the gunpowder telling me of each ingredient, which didn’t make any sense to me nor did I even remember their names.  We put some in the crack in his basement wall and blew half of one of the blocks away.  Claude’s sister heard it and yelled down into the basement and said she going to tell their dad.  I made a run for it, just knowing Claude’s dad would kill us both.  As I ran down the street, I thought, “Wow, that’s what an atomic bomb would be like.”  I didn’t tell anyone at first.  But then, I told my sister, Mary.  She was three years older and didn’t believe me.

“No one knows how to make gunpowder,” she said, “it’s made in a factory!”

I knew I was safe then because no one would believe it, even if I did tell them the truth.  But, that sealed it my mind.  Claude Weimer was a genius!  The next Monday at school, Claude was still alive.  I asked him, “What did your dad say?”

“Nothing, my sister never told him.”

“Really!”  I couldn’t believe it.

Claude’s dad didn’t kill us, and the world didn’t come to an end.  It was Happy New Year!


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