Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A story about a girl and her bike

A little more than three years ago, James and I attended the dedication of a new historical marker at Blanco State Park. With permission, we drove up the big hill to the park residence, just recently vacated by the then current park superintendent. I was curious to see the house, where I'd lived many years with my former husband and raised our two children. The house was locked, naturally, so we peeked through the windows and walked around the yard. So many memories! In the back yard, I saw what used to be my herb garden and the stone patio where we sometimes picnicked. Then I turned and saw an old, badly rusted bike parked against the chain link fence by the garage.

"That's MY bike!" I gasped, completely stunned. I'd forgotten that it even existed. Evidently, my former husband had left it when he moved to another park. It was a wonder that no one had thrown it away! 

Even more memories came flooding back....  I was eight or nine, growing up in Corpus Christi, when we returned home from a Christmas trip to visit relatives. I remember walking into the front room where we always put up our tree and stockings. I couldn't believe my eyes! Santa had brought me a brand new big-girl bike! But how had he gotten it into the house while we were gone? He really was magical! 

In no time, I'm sure, I had that bicycle–a Western Flyer bought from Western Auto–out the front door and rolling down our street. Me and that bike were nearly inseparable. I rode it up and down Dogwood Street either by myself or with friends, like Dylynn and Karen. For a time, I even dubbed my two-wheel "Silver" in honor of the Lone Ranger's faithful horse by the same name. That bike carried me on countless trips to Circle K and Maverick Market, where I picked out a sack of penny candy and bubble gum. A dime went a LONG way back in the late 1960s and early '70s.

I think I even took my bike to college for a semester. From the git go, I was always careful to use the kick stand and not drop my bike on the ground whenever I got off. I loved my bike.

"You should get it, and we'll take it home," James said. I nodded.

So with permission from the interim park manager, we loaded up my old bicycle and then parked it in our back yard. Every time I'd see it there at the corner of our house, I'd feel guilty about leaving it outside. But what did more time matter at this point? My friend was already in sad shape, as you can tell by the photos below. Now and then, I'd research bike restoration people and put out inquiries on Facebook (remember, Irene?). But I got nowhere.

Until this past July, when I finally came across Chris Mallett and his Red-D Bikes restoration company in San Antonio. For many pretty pennies, he'd be glad to get my bicycle restored and back to riding condition. James said yes, DO IT. A few days later, he cheerfully made a delivery run to the Alamo City with my bicycle in the trunk. "Take your time," I told Chris. "No hurry!"

Just last Saturday, Chris called. My bike was finished! So this morning, James and I headed south and picked it up. My friend is BACK! Thank you, Chris!

So yes, after all this time, my bike and I are reunited. For now, as you can see, it's parked in our front bedroom until we can figure out how to best store it in the garage (preferably hanging). I'm looking forward to cruising the neighborhood. Watch out for us!  

P.S. Mom couldn't quite remember how Santa got the bike into the house while we were gone that Christmas. But she thinks Dad (who left for heaven in December 2008) might have run back into the house before we left on our trip because he "forgot something," when actually he pulled the bike out of his car trunk and set it up in the front room. For years, I thought maybe he'd enlisted the neighbors to do it. :-)

My mother found one vintage photo of my bike (complete with white basket) and Sambo, our then cat. Circa November 1971 in our Dogwood garage.


Unknown said...

Lovely story Sheryl... Santa would be PROUD to know you have that Special Christmas Gift back in great Shape!!

rnwendy said...

What an awesome story!

Anonymous said...

I just am AMAZED at how beautifully that bike was restored!
Loved walking (or riding!) down memory lane, Sheryl.
Oh how I wish I could ride my bike now :(

Anonymous said...

I am just amazed at how completely Silver was restored! Wish I could ride my bike now :(
Thanks for that walk (or ride!) down memory lane, Sheryl.

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Thank you, y'all! My mother so far has found one vintage photo of my bike. I'll post it. :-)

NikiKickSA said...

Thanks for sharing, Red did an amazing job at restoring that beauty!

Miss M said...

Who refurbished your bike? I have my grandmothers old formica table and the legs need to be cleaned and polished. What a great story too, finding your old faithful bike to continue to cherish!

Miss M said...

Sorry, I re-read and got the info as to who did the refurbish!!

Sheryl Smith-Rodgers said...

Yep, talk to Chris! :-)

David Ries said...

I love this! Nice smile at the end of my day!

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