I was 9 and it was a Schwinn. My stepdad Floyd put it together and gave me a lesson and turned me loose on it to ride the neighborhood. A bit wobbly but with great and courageous anticipation of riding like a Pro, I put one foot on the curb, swung the other leg over the saddle and took off. “Oh! Oh! Here comes a curb and I am heading right for it. What now?”
Curb and front wheel came together—front fork bending back—kid flying over handle bar. “My bike is ruined. My riding career over before it began.” I limped back to the apartment house and made my way to our second floor apartment, feigning as much injury as I could muster, fearing punishment but even more, disapproval of ‘kid stupid’. My stepfather took one look at the bent fork, another at ‘kid stupid’ and promptly took bike fork, heated it and bent it back into shape. He was an accomplished machinist and knew things: Smart stepdad—stupid kid. But he never said a word to let on the least disappointment.
I had that Schwinn until I went to high school, and except for one other near death experience with a Model “A” on Olsen Highway, I never hit another tree. But that is another story.
I couldn’t find a single picture of that bike, but below are a couple of photos of our neighbors across the hall in our 4-plex. First is the Fiterman family. That is Marilyn in the front on the right. We re-connected after more than 50 some years at our high school reunions.
Below are the Connors, who “took over” for the Fitermans when they moved to the “suburbs.” I used to “babysit” for Michael.