Our First Bicycles

In the early 1960’s, Mom and Dad built a new house about two miles from Sharpe on the Bottom Road next to Mawdie’s (my maternal grandmother) house.  It was a three-bedroom ranch with a full basement.  My mom insisted on having hardwood floors and she got all new furniture, including a stainless steel kitchen set. When the kitchen set was delivered, the delivery men dropped the table leaf in the middle of the living room floor and gouged out a huge hole in the hardwood.  One can only imagine the hissy fit that Mom pitched over that little incident.

Cheryl and I got our own bedrooms, but we had to sleep in Cheryl’s bedroom because Mom didn’t want me messing up my bedroom.  Let me point out here that she was an absolute clean freak; but in her defense, this was her first brand new house and she wanted it to be perfect.  Before we got our twin beds, Cheryl and I slept in one bed and naturally, we divided the bed in half.  Once in bed, one of us would intentionally touch the other and that would start the fight, which usually got us into trouble.  If I’m totally honest here, I’m probably the one who started the whole thing.  I would barely touch Cheryl’s leg with my toe and she would move, then I would do it again and again until she yelled.  That’s when we were threatened with a beatin’ if we didn’t stop.  I didn’t always stop, but Cheryl learned to fight back quietly. Finally, we got twin beds and at least that fight stopped.  Dad put a wood-burning stove in the basement to help with the heating and the chimney ran through Cheryl’s closet.  So, during the winter, we had to smell the creosote that ran down the chimney.  Creosote is a dark brown or black flammable tar deposited from the wood smoke onto the chimney wall and it stunk to high heaven.

Now to the bikes.  During the first summer at our new house, Mom and Dad bought Huffy bicycles for my sister and me.  Neither of us had ever ridden a bicycle, much less owned one.  Cheryl’s was a 24-inch and mine was a 26-inch.  Dad put mine together first and off I went riding around the yard.  When he got Cheryl’s put together, she started riding around the yard too.  Well, I rode around to the back of Mawdie’s house, decided to stop and wait for Cheryl to catch up with me, and boy howdy, did she ever catch up.  She came barrel-assin’ around the house and ran all over me and my new bike!  She was trying to kill me and totally ruin my bike.  I think she was paying me back for pouring that alcohol in her face when she was a baby.  The fact that she didn’t know how to use the brakes didn’t mean squat to me.   There was a lane next to the house that a couple of neighborhood farmers used to get to their crop fields; our gardens were back that lane too.  I bet we rode up and down that thing a 100 times a day. Those bicycles took us all around the world and back and just having a bike was one of the greatest highlights of my childhood.

Sometimes I wish I could go back to those good ole days.

See ya next Wednesday.