sparkler lady

The demographics in the West Fargo, North Dakota, neighborhood where I grew up have changed, but not the kids. Not one bit, howling as the fuse gets lit, stomping on the spend-but-still-spinning Ground Bloom Flowers, daring scrambling closer shouting this one this one this one next! dropping the kamikaze killer bees into my cupped palm.

Nor has my mom moved from the eighties in her loud yellow Black Cat tee, handing out sparklers with a string of Be Carefuls, the eye of the gimme-gimme wriggling storm. Chain-lighting sparklers while Mom held back the toddlers, I burned only one boy, careening into my punk in the melee, the chaos of America chorus of shrieks, singeing his arm.

I blew on it.



  • Bree

    July 5, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I love this photo and I love that it is West Fargo.

  • megh

    July 5, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I love that it’s my mom 🙂

    When I was growing up, the hood was mostly white, low-income single-mother families (read: us), with a sprinkling of Russian, Iraqi and Kurdish immigrants. Now it’s indistinguishable from Minneapolis. While I don’t know what new immigrant services are like in the area, the FM economy is kicking ass, so it’s no wonder (brutal winters or not).

    There are a whopping eighteen kids in this photo. When I came over, Ma was sitting on the stoop, lighting firecrackers and throwing them with two or three kids watching at the edges. With my own (modest) supply of (slightly sexier) fireworks, we soon had a mob.

    Saturn Missiles = most screams.
    Sparklers = most Mom and Meg near heartattacks.

  • Leah

    July 6, 2010 at 10:40 am

    I love your mom. She is one of the sweetest women I know!

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