Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Humans of Downey - Gilbert


"My grandmother came here first and then my mother followed. I was born here and lived my first years in West Los Angeles. Our 4th of July celebrations centered around family, food, and fireworks. Our family loved to celebrate the freedoms of our country. We celebrated with the community of our block. We shared barbecue hamburgers and hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato salad. Then we would set off our collection of fireworks. We kids would run and jump over the fountains of sparks. No one ever got hurt.

"One 4th of July I spent the whole evening at the hospital because of my daughter. I was in charge of setting off the fireworks in the street. So, I had a punk that I was using to light the fuses and I was keeping it in my mouth sideways. It looked like a rose in my mouth. My 4-year-old daughter came running out to be with me as I was getting another firework ready to light. I was kneeling down and as she called my name, I turned around and the lighted punk stabbed her in the corner of her eye. At that point, 4th of July was over.

"We poured water on her face to stop the burning and then took her to the hospital. After many hours, they patched her eye and sent us home. She couldn't sleep during the night so we took her back to the hospital. They found and removed the tip of the punk that was still in the corner of her eye. She recovered completely. But for several years I refused to have anything to do with fireworks. We still had the barbecues but the only fireworks we saw were at the Queen Mary. Finally I relented and we had fireworks at the house. But only after a 30-minute talk with my children concerning the dangers of fireworks and the rules they had to follow to stay outside. I put a strip of caution tape they were not allowed past. Each year I give that speech, put up that tape and remind them of how easy serious accidents can happen in dangerous circumstances. Most of the day is filled with fun, eating, and community. The fireworks part of the celebration, though, is no longer the joy of watching the pretty colors and hearing the pops. Now, it's filled with stress of watching to make sure no kids get too close to harm."

~ Gilbert

PS Gilbert works at Avenue Press and was kind enough to take time out to talk with me. Stop in and have a chat some time to get to know him better.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments! Due to the constant spamming, we can no longer accept anonymous comments, but we hope you'll log in and let us know what you think.