As Coronado grade-schoolers growing up in the late 1960s, we’d frolic and play down along the bay near the old ferry landing, sometimes schlepping along our painstakingly-assembled, scale-model, plastic warships, setting them adrift from the shore, their decks laden with lit firecrackers. Bon voyage!

Speaking of simple minds, one day down at the bay, a friend (who shall remain nameless) had readied for “launch” his big, plastic, model Saturn-V rocket, a mini-version of the mammoth monsters which powered NASA’s Apollo program “to infinity and beyond,” a little Buzz Lightyear lingo. But I digress. Let’s get back to our itty-bitty bayside launch pad in the sand, down at the foot of D Avenue circa ‘69.

My anonymous friend’s scale-model Saturn-V rocket stood over three feet tall, quite an impressive contraption! For “propellant,” and for special-effects value, we’d loaded the hollow innards of the doomed rocket with as many M-80 firecrackers as we could muster, along with a modest assortment of garden-variety cap rolls, smoke bombs, and sparklers, all allegedly illicitly procured from south of the border by the older brother of a mutual buddy, (who shall also remain nameless). Oh, the contraband!  

I don’t recall what we used as a fuse: perhaps a trail of black powder in the sand, just like in cartoons? I simply don’t recall, Senator...

Our rocket’s “payload” helped balance it vertically in the sand. And so with a quick flick of a Zippo, we lit the makeshift fuse and hurriedly exited s-s-s-s-s-s-stage-left, backing away from the impending s-s-s-s-s-s-spectacle.

We are go for liftoff! Next stop, Smithereens-ville!  

Ten...nine...eight...BAMMO! “Houston, we’ve had a problem.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.