I entered our apartment with this huge melon in my arms. I was a little disappointed that my mother was not there to greet me. The weight of this melon was starting to get to me and I thought that I was gona drop it at any moment. I just didn’t know where to put it so I laid it into our sink. This way my mother would immediately see it when she walked into our apartment. Boy will she be surprised. It was just too hot for me to stay home so even though I needed to wash up and clean off the sweat and grime I accumulated in delivering the melons from Mr. Pauli’s wagon, I decided to venture out for some relief from this heat in our apartment.
So I ran down the steps and made a quick exit onto Columbia Street. Only a few steps away I noticed the delivery ice truck parked on Luquer Street and a bunch of kids begging for some ice chips.
One kid stood out from the rest since he is about one foot taller than all the kids around him. It’s Nunzio (Superman) Rizzo looking to grab some ice chips to cool off from the heat. Nuzzio is a big kid about a year older than the rest of the gang. Not only is he tall he is as strong as any man in the neighborhood. He has light brown hair, straight eyebrows and light green eyes with a flat nose and a pointed chin. He was dressed in blue jeans, white tee shirt and sneakers. He stood next to Reno (the Greek) Paulettio who is the shortest kid in our gang. Reno is very dark skinned with a bushy mop of striate jet black hair black eyes with a thin nose. He is wearing blue shorts, probably cut off jeans, with a light blue tee shirt white socks and sneakers. His brother Henry is two years older and looks pretty much like Reno but only taller. I didn’t see him in the crowd of kids fighting for the ice chips. It was so funny to me to see Superman and the Greek next to each other; they looked like Mut and Jeff. I didn’t want to fight that battle and turned around the corner on to Columbia Street.
As luck would have it I heard a commotion, I noticed a bunch of people, adults, teenagers and little kids yelling, screaming as they splashed themselves in an open Johnny pump. The water was gushing fast and furious out of the fire hydrant and when anyone stood in front of this water pressure they were being tossed onto the ground. Who cared, with the heat wave pushing 100 degrees everyone was just trying to cool off as best as they can. The fire department and the police were not too thrilled about losing all this drinking water in addition to a having reduced water pressure that would hamper their efforts to put out a house or factory fire. The traffic was starting to back up on the street. If you were in a car or truck you had to stop and roll up your windows to prevent the water from coming in. The trolley conductor also alerted passengers to close the windows of the trolley on the side of the open Johnny pump as they went through the cascade of water coming down upon them. Several teenagers and men would take turns squatting down behind the hydrant and putting an open ended metal can onto the water gushing out directly in front of them directing the water flow like a giant hose twenty to thirty feet into the air. It was quite a sight to see and hear tons of water crashing into the cars, trucks and trolleys that had to pass through the gushing water. When this tremendous water pressure hit the side of a truck the metal cab would vibrate and make all kinds of loud deafening sounds echoing and vibrating against the buildings and windows in the neighborhood
People were screaming and yelling just from the thrill of seeing and hearing the water show. As I approached the active zone I was immediately kidnapped by a bunch of teenagers who started carrying me towards the gushing water. I was squirming, fighting yelling as loud as I could in protest. There was no way to escape the inevitable. I was too small to fight off my kidnappers and my yelling was lost in the roar of the gushing water. Then it happened, brrrrr…..I was so cold when the water hit my overheated body. The water pressure tossed me over and over again in the street. I felt like I was riding rapid waves and crashing into a number of giant rocks in some Colorado River. It was worth it. Once I stopped moving forward and I stood Motionless, lying face up in a pool of water I felt cool but numb all over. All of a sudden I was being dragged by the neck out of the street onto the sidewalk only to realize that I was being hustled out of the way of on coming traffic and imminent danger. My clothing was soaking wet but now I could join the water kidnappers and do my part to capture unsuspecting bystanders and hustle them into the ice cold water.
When I finally got home late that night I was so tried that I hardly noticed the big grin on my Mothers face. She was so happy that I had brought home a watermelon for the 4th of July celebration. Even though it was late I still had time to turn on the radio to listen to several of my favorite radio shows. So I pulled up a chair next to the radio and just like the RCA dog I put my ear right next to the speaker. The first radio program was The Lone Ranger and after that I was looking forward to listening to my all time favorite, scare you out of your mind, The Inner Sanctum. Well I never made it since I fell asleep leaning against the radio right after I heard the Long Ranger call out “High-O-Sliver”.
My Mom pulled me gently into my cot and even though it was still a hot night I had no trouble falling asleep.