I wrote this piece as part of Youth-Tube’s “Self as Child” Blog Hop. Youth-Tube, for which I am Assistant Project Coordinator, is a new site designed just for children. Like my blue Schwinn, it promises children a place to freely express themselves. Youth-Tube not only provides a safe internet haven for children, it also encourages early literacy and creativity. Please visit here and share it with your children. At the end of this article, I’ve shared links to other fantastic blogs supporting children’s right to freedom and creativity.
I still remember the day my dad brought it home to me. It was a beautiful May afternoon, and my dad stood in the shade, held it up on the sidewalk for me. The bike had a 20″ aluminum frame, ape handlebars, and a banana seat. That bike ties in with memories of Kool-Aid, Scooby Doo, and those awesome Garbage Pail Kids.
A neighbor boy taught me to ride my bike without training wheels. He pushed me all over the neighborhood park until I took off. I would ride that bike for endless hours. Like books, it transported me. I loved its rhythm, and watching sidewalks blur by under my feet. I was a quiet, dreamy girl. The bike suited me when I wanted to be left alone. I’m the oldest of five girls, and more often than not I’d stay gone until our mom called us in to watch The Cosby Show.
Then, one summer, our bikes were stolen. I remember this- I couldn’t imagine anyone else who’d want my old bike. But I loved it. There were tears and my parents called the cops. Karma deemed that bike and I belonged together, at least for a time. It was over a year later when the bikes were returned to us.
Funny that the small miracles of childhood have such an emotional impact years later.
We moved out to the country where we lived in a beautiful home well over a century old. I took my bike, explored the woods, winding roads, and made up stories about the places and things I would see. My dog Bud would run alongside me and we raced away the afternoon hours.
Bill Clinton was inaugurated President, I fell in love with a little band named Nirvana, and somewhere along the way my old Blue Schwinn lost its place in my life. I’ve scanned the internet for a picture to share with you today, and even now my (most sincerely awesome) parents are scouring old photos for a trace of my old bike.
I have my own children, now. I push my daughters away from the tv set, Wii, and DSIs. They read books, and now when we can smell summer coming around the corner, the bikes are out and I’m the one calling them home for dinner. When a tire goes flat or a chain needs oiled, my husband and I sit under the shade of a tree and I watch as he plays the hero.
I like to think that bike still beats time today. Whatever its fate, it’s become a powerful symbol of my childhood- the need for an outlet, a little escape. It reminds me that I was once a little girl who knew exactly what it felt like to be free.
My husband found a close image for my bike. Here it is: (Thank you, hubby!)
Is there an object from your childhood that’s become symbolic to you? I would love to hear about them. Please comment and thanks for stopping by.
Thurs. 3rd –
Fri. 4th –
Sat. 5th Janet Young Beasley JLB Creatives Blog
Sun. 6th –
- Deb Hockenberry
Mon. 7th -
– Niamh Clune
Tues. 8th –
– Susie Bertie
Fri. 11th –
– Brianna Soloski
Sat. 12th -
– JanCan / @OptyMyst – Not Quite Dead Yet
Mon. 14th –
– Lorhainne Eckhart (The Choice of Giving)
Tues. 15th -
– Elizabeth Cottrell
Wed 16th -
Thurs: 17th: This Kid Reviews Books
Sat. 19th -www.jontybabe.blogspot.com Jonty-Babe
Wed: 23rd May: Tom Harris