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First bikes
Photo from Karen Johnson
Once I had that bike I was free. I was no longer restricted to a tricycle that was too small or my brothers' bikes which were too large.

My First Bicycle

Karen Johnson

(an original story, unedited, unsimplified)

Getting a bike was a pretty big deal in my family, at least from my perspective. It indicated that you had reached some great milestone. Every family has this thing where, "When you are "x" you can…." (This isn't to say that a parent couldn't indiscriminately change the age at any time. For example, I had to wait until I was eighteen to have my ears pierced, whereas my two younger sisters had theirs pierced way before they were eighteen.)

At the time when I got my bike, the magical age was 9. Now my mother doesn't recall this age factor. She only remembers when Howard, my oldest brother, got his bike. Maybe the idea came from my sister Ann who wanted to keep me under her subjugation as long as possible. Until then, I had to beg and plead to ride someone else's.

My bike was a lovely light-blue, girls' style Schwinn bike that had tall chrome handle bars with blue plastic grips. The banana seat, which was all the rage in the mid 70s, was white with pink and blue flowers. One of the best things about having a banana seat was the ease of which you could give someone a ride. Or, if the person was small enough and agile enough, he or she could ride in the deep "U" of the handle bars.

Once I had that bike I was free. I was no longer restricted to a tricycle that was too small or my brothers' bikes which were too large. And more importantly, I was no longer forced to grovel to Ann to ask to take hers. "What mom? You need me to tell dad something out in the field?" Hop on my bike and wing away with Mercurial speed to grant her request. "Huh? It's time to weed the garden?" Hop on the bike and dart toward the tree break to lose myself behind the lilac bushes.

"Free at last. Free!"

 
Read Karen Johnson's teaching article and learn techniques for teaching students to write more descriptively: Adding Interest to Writing

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