“I met my husband over a CB radio. I was Rosebud and he was Alabama Wildman. He came on the radio and said ‘I am coming to see you.’ I said, ‘Like hell you are.’ I didn’t know he was with my uncle. He said look out the window at the red truck. I was only wearing a t-shirt and underwear and ran inside. My dad said, “I told you that you were going to get in trouble with that CB radio.” Steve asked me out on a date and I went. We have been married for 43 years. He still cracks me up.
I am the manager of the fireworks store. I have been here 21 years. My boss hired a girl in skimpy, hight, cut-off shorts and a halter top to do a commercial. It was awful and I told my boss that wouldn’t get any business. I talked to my friend Jenny Smith about doing something better and she said I had to be the Bang Bang Lady. I said, ‘Hell no.’ She said, ‘Wanda, you sell fireworks and what do they do? They bang bang.’ I became the Bang Bang Lady and shook my ass on TV. As soon as it started running, people started coming through the door. One guy came in yelling bang, bang, picked me up and swung me around and said I love you. He told my boss everyone in Columbus, Georgia was talking about the Bang Bang Lady. We got crazy phone calls and calls from religious old women who told me I need to get off TV. I started telling them to turn the channel.
We do a new commercial every 4th of July and New Year’s. I am about to be 58 years old and still shake my ass. The commercial runs in 30 countries and it brings people in from all over. Today a man came in from Canada on his way to Florida to see me. Meeting me had been on his bucket list.
My mom was abusive, emotionally and physically. That is what makes me strong and feisty. You make out of your life what you want it to be. It also opened me up to other people. I have a bond with kids and veterans. I love the soldiers. They put their life on the line for us and they don’t get enough appreciation. I fly a huge American flag at the store and on Memorial Day I line boots up in front of the store with flags in them. The VFW gave me The Most Patriotic award. I was humbled. I love America, especially Russell County. I have lived here all of my life and ran for county commissioner twice but it is hard for a white woman to win my district.
My door is always open. We have taken in so many children. We don’t meet strangers and I don’t like to see anyone hurt. I have let my bills get behind and almost lost my home helping others. It is just who I am. What goes around comes around is so true. I love my job and do it all here. My bosses are amazing. We lost our son in a car accident several years ago and my boss paid for his funeral. He paid for my parents’ funerals, too. My son died when he was 33.
I go fishing for fun. I go jugging at night. We take a piece of PVC pipe, put a swimming noodle around it, and attach a line and sinker and a hook. I put chicken hearts on the hook. I caught a 55-pound catfish on that one night. My God, that is so much fun pulling in a fish that big. I don’t want to live anywhere else but here.”