Some Final Thoughts on the Big Bay Boom

– By Gus Giobbi –
O.K. – I can’t help writing this. When I was 12 growing up in rural Pennsylvania, my uncle Clyde bought me a whole bunch of fireworks for the 4th of July (much to the consternation of my mother).

Big Bay Boom Fireworks 2012

Spectators watch as a malfunction causes the entire Big Bay Boom fireworks show. Photo by James Gregg to go off all at once

It was an unbelievable collection of snakes, whirring spinners, cherry bombs, silver dogs, firecrackers, etc. – a dream collection!

My friends Sonny Vince, Johnny Orzehowski, Tom Patts and Billy Keltz soon got wind of my stash, and showed up at my house to participate in the action.

Among the items my uncle gave me was a corn-cob pipe looking sort of thing on the end of a long handle – about four feet long. The idea was that you put a cap in the bottom of it, and then there was a cork with a feather on it that you plugged into the top.

When you slammed the bottom of the corn cob pipe on the sidewalk, the cap would go off and the cork with the feather would go flying up in the air. The caps that went with this marvelous item were not ordinary caps – they were about four times the size of those puny ones you would put in your Roy Rogers cap gun.

This was way too cool! Somebody said “I wonder what would happen if we put two caps in it instead of one?” The cork with the feather flew higher. “Let’s try four”, Ozzie said. Still higher. Six caps made it go higher than the house.

Naturally, we didn’t quit when we were ahead. Let’s stuff in twenty caps! Tom Patts slammed the pipe down with a mighty swing. The pipe exploded with a boom and hurled a million pieces of fiery stinging shrapnel-like splinters at us.

The funny thing was, that was what we all remembered for years afterwards. We wouldn’t have traded that moment for a million ordinary firecrackers. Other kids we told about it wished they could have been there.

I feel the same way about San Diego’s now infamous Big Bay Boom. It was as if me and Sonny, Billy, Ozzie, and Tom were all back together again once more. I can hear Ozzie now saying, “I wonder what would happen if we set all of those barges off at once?”

I say let’s do it again next year – instead of a half million people, we’ll have over a million lining the waterfront! I’ll be there for sure!