|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.
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.
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
wanting a trike so i can bike again
Getting the trike tattoo.