Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Bike Story

We were brought up to work for anything we wanted that could not be provided. My parents tried their best and we always had a clean home. We always had decent meals. Being from a European background our meals and school lunches were different and I would get called names. We were given mettwurst and tomato sauce sandwiches and haagaslaf (chocolate hail). Hey - chocolate sandwiches don't go off in the warm weather and sure beat vegemite and peanut butter!

My brother and I used to mow lawns and wash peoples cars after school. This gave us pocket money to buy lollies, hot chips and soft drinks.

I remember wanting a bike. I always wanted to ride away in some form. Escape. Be on my own. When I rode horses I had a mate and I had freedom.

We never celebrated Christmas or birthdays. My parents' opinion was there was no reason. Why wait all year for a present? I never had a party. Of course, I was never invited to a birthday party as I never invited others to mine. They would all make fun on my birthday. I usually wagged school on my birthday.

Bikes were popular the Christmas I was seven years old. Even at 7 years of age I knew all the other kids would be getting one. A dragster with streamers and a basket was all I could think about. My father said that if I wanted a bike he would match me dollar for dollar. It was approaching Christmas and I desperately wanted a bicycle of my own.

One week before Christmas my father and mother took my brother and I shopping after school. We drove to the bike shop. My parents always rode bikes and I thought they must be getting a part. When we got there my dad asked which was the bike I had been saving for.

I walked up to the red dragster with the streamers and a pretty pink basket with flowers on it and said this one. My brother made it clear that he thought it was a girl's bike. "Go the blue", he whispered. I said no i wanted that one it was my money i was saving. My dad asked how much I had. I said $20. The bike was $50.

He told me to give him the money I had saved. It was in my pocket - I never left my money out of sight. I did as instructed - thinking he was going to put a deposit down. The bike shop owner said they would all be gone soon for Christmas and we had best put one aside, so he went out to the back of the shop. I knew if I worked hard that I would have the extra money by then.

When he came back the salesman said "Merry Christmas!" and gave me a piece of paper. It was a receipt for the bike. I cried with joy. My brother called me a girl for crying. I didn't care. Then my dad said, "Well you had best ride home then and be home before dinner."
It was a long way. I rode hard.

I had found another escape. On my own with my streamers flowing, ringing my bell. I was so happy.

I made it just before dinner - phew.

And by the way, the rest of the kids had to wait until Christmas. I would just ride after school and wave at them all watching me – I was grinning from ear to ear.

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