anything with wheels...

to know me is to know the story of the tricycle.

Back in the early eighties, while walking through a flea market, I spied a tricycle. It was just like the one of my childhood, a different color but the same exact style. Without a second thought it was purchased and taken to my home on Rose Hill Road. Originally, it was to hang from the ceiling in my living room, like I had seen done at a restaurant on Hamilton Road. That turned out not be practical in a home with eight-foot ceilings. After sitting on my small deck and thinking, where could this trike be placed that it could be seen often, the garage roof was the logical choice. It had to be a place where it could be seen enough to remind me of the feelings deep inside, that the trike story always brought back.

During the war years, as Archie Bunker would say, “WWII the Big One" most of the men went off to war in far away places. My Father Willard went as far as Columbus, Ohio, thirty miles from our small town of Newark. He had been working at the Wehrle Plant in Newark, which made stoves for Sears Roebuck. Somehow he was transferred to the Curtis Wright airplane factory in Columbus to help the war machine.

One Saturday afternoon in 1944, Dad had to go to the plant and he took me along. The next Monday morning, after he left for work, I decided to visit him at the airplane factory. Three years old and jumping on my little blue tricycle I pointed it in the direction we had traveled on Saturday...and off I went. I actually remember part of the journey. We lived on the edge of town, four houses from the city limits. Pulling away on the bike it wasn’t but ten minutes until I was in the countryside. This had to be late summer because what I remember most was the very tall cornstalks alongside the road. It was like being in a forest.

My Father and I never had a close relationship. Dad always worked hard, usually working three jobs at a time, so he was never home. During my childhood he worked at the stove plant during the day, ran the concession stand at the local Baseball Park at night and on weekends worked at the corner Pure Oil Station. Dad loved to play cards and many times he was off somewhere, in what little free time he had, playing poker.

My life was a busy one, as I liked to tinker and there were inventors living on both sides of us that taught me many skills. You could usually find me working on something out in our alley garage. My J.C. Higgens bicycle found its way to almost every street in our town and even in the Welsh Hills outside of Newark. I spent childhood summers on my friend’s farm on Linville Road and later on, as a boy scout staff member at Camp Falling Rock. By the time high school came around my whole life was cars, nothing but cars. Dad was just never around. I tried very hard to like my dad, but outside of spending a little time on scout camp outs, he just was never involved in my life.

After pedaling the trike past the corn stalks on 21st Street and being about three miles from home, a hill on West Church Street became too much of a climb, for this exhausted young traveler. Across the street at a gas station one of the men working there saw me and knew I was not from the neighborhood. He came over to rescue me. Things were so much safer back then and my mother Marcia had always let me have free rein of our quiet neighborhood. By this time my journey was about three hours old and the entire Newark Police Force, as well as my family, was out looking for the not so lost child.

My Grandparents found me first at the filling station. My Grandmother Nina promptly beat the tar out of me. When Grand Pa Lou picked up the trike one of the wheels fell off. No one had any idea what the hell I was doing clear out on the West Side of Newark. But I knew where i was going...

I was on the way to see my Dad!

vaughnsville, 1996, the year
dad passed away
    silent home
    wanting a trike so i can bike again

    Getting the trike tattoo.

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