The whole extended family often visited when the children were young. Several generations of brothers, sisters, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, grandparents, aunts and uncles in the summer, in someone’s back yard, watching all the children at play. Children were required to get dirty so they could get a bath and go home to bed. My niece and a nephew:
Sometimes the grown-ups might have made themselves just as dirty. My dad on a tiny tricycle. Early ‘70’s.
My Uncle Hank back from a spin up the road. I believe that’s my brother’s motor scooter.
When I got my motorcycle I drove it home from the dealer to my parents’, but needed practice trips through the neighborhood before I rode to Mentor. I practiced corners, downshifting, stopping and starting. Feeling pretty confident after a couple of hours, I started back up Gardendale hill and saw my two brothers across a vacant field, on Moraine. There was a footpath between the streets that went down a hill, across a flat plain of ground that Grandpa Schook gardened, back up a hill and onto Moraine.
The grades down and up were fairly steep, and as I started up the grade to Moraine my bike gave a little choke signaling imminent stall. Walt and Mel were yards away, above my head on the road. Mel yelled “Downshift and give it some gas!,” both of which I promptly executed. The front wheel immediately came up off the ground. I looked up at two brothers laughing so hard as to be no help as the front wheel rose higher and higher. No question I would be over backwards in a minute. What to do?
I stood up on the pegs and leaned over the handle bars to get the front tire back on the ground. And my brothers kept on laughing. Leaning on each other, tears rolling down. I crested the hill on the back tire and got the front tire down only when I reached the level of the road. My brothers were behind me, shaking with laughter. I was furious. I did a one footed U turn and aimed straight for them. At the last moment they moved aside, revealing the big oak tree they were in front of. I missed it, too, and turned to face them.
“That,” said Mel, “is called a wheelie. You’re damn good.”