When I was a kid, I walked everywhere. I went to a Bluebird or Campfire Girls meeting a few blocks away from home, and one day, on the way back, I saw a pale green leaf fluttering on the street. I picked it up, un-wadded it and discovered it was money. A ten-dollar bill.
When it’s the mid-sixties and you find $10.00, that’s like finding $50.00 today. It was a lot of money for me. My allowance was probably a quarter at the time. My older sis earned 50 cents an hour babysitting. So it was worth 20 hours of teenaged work.
I aready knew what I wanted to do with it by the time I had walked two more blocks to my house.
“Look what I found!” I told my mom.
“Wow! Where?” she said.
My brothers and sisters might have been envious. I don’t remember. All I know is that I wanted a bike and kept saying so.
My dad came home from work. I told him what I’d found. The next day he came home with a blue bike. I didn’t go with him to buy it. I don’t know where he got it, maybe out of the want ads in the newspaper.
I didn’t care how the blue bike ended up at 4018 – 69th Street. All I wanted was to ride it.
I rode it everywhere. Up the hills, down the hills, over to the corn fields, to the drugstore, down all the side streets. Sometimes I rode with others, but mostly I rode alone. That bike gave me wings, kind of like Red Bull does today (supposedly).
My friends got bikes after that. They hadn’t found money on the street, but their parents ponied up and got them some. I didn’t mind. I don’t even think I figured it out till just now.
Some parents would’ve made their child put the found money into the bank. Or bad parents might have taken it from their kid. Maybe my dad got a good deal and bought himself a six-pack of Schlitz on the way home. Maybe I went with him to see the bike from the paper. I can’t remember. I think it was a boy’s bike.
I do know that he helped me negotiate a used car deal from the newspaper. It was a red Chevy Monza, with a stick shift. It was my very first car at age 21. I used it for 2 months and then went to Spain for the summer and handed over the keys to my mother. It was the nicest car she’d driven in a long time.
I don’t have many of memories of my dad because he worked, drank, and slept a lot. Once, he whistled at me in my new Christmas skirt and sweater (6th grade). Once, he helped me with my electricity project for science class (7th grade). Once, he helped me negotiate a car. And once, he came home with my blue bike.