1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

Home » 5 - Boy Crazy (1958-1959) » Hello Dolly » Almost A Knockout

Almost A Knockout

Due to circumstances within my control, I always succeeded in getting the attention of boys, but not in a good way.

I spent the night at Annie’s, and she mentioned her Barbie Dolls.

“What’s a Barbie Doll?” I asked.

“You don’t have a Barbie Doll?”

“I don’t know what it is.”

She lowered her voice. “It’s a doll with breasts. Aunt Sophi won’t let Barbara Ann or Janet Ann play with one yet.”

I wanted a doll with breasts, since I didn’t have any myself.

“I’m not having a cousin my age go without a Barbie Doll,” Annie declared.

A teensy shorter than me, Annie had long dark hair and large dark eyes. She acted older than her age, preferring the company of adults and older cousins. Her build and husky voice hinted at enjoyable teenage years ahead.

Annie immediately set about righting the wrong. We hunted through the sofa and chair cushions and scanned the table tops for loose change. It wasn’t enough. A Barbie cost three dollars. Annie got a yardstick, stuck a wad of masking tape on the end, and expertly lowered it through the narrow opening of Uncle Mike L.’s giant Coke bottle of change and random bills.

She hopped on her bike and I borrowed her sister Michelle’s. We peddled down Hillview Avenue, crossed over Route 4, and traveled down the sidewalk toward a variety store. A block from the store, I spotted a bunch of boys playing baseball in a vacant lot across the street.

“Stop staring at them,” Annie warned. “They’re from my school. You’ll embarrass me.”

I didn’t have herds of boys grazing in my small neighborhood. Except for my brother, the oldest male was Mikey, a couple of years younger which eliminated him from any boyfriend pool. My eyes scanned the collection of young males like a starving turkey buzzard checking out a lavish smorgasbord.

The boys waved at us–actually at Annie. I waved back, and discovered I can’t ride on a bike while looking to the left and steering with one hand. I veered off the sidewalk and came to an unexpected halt by crashing into a telephone pole.

I embarrassed Annie.

Michelle’s bike wasn’t wrecked too badly. I scraped and bruised an elbow and knee, and obtained a few grass stains, nothing new. I picked the bike up, got back on, and stopped looking at the boys—now staring at me.

“I can’t believe you just did that,” Annie said in a low voice. “Don’t you dare look back.”

I had no desire to gaze at the source of laughter floating across the street. I faced straight ahead and peddled with my chin up. I didn’t stay at Annie’s often. I hoped the boys wouldn’t recognize me by my next visit.

Annie wasn’t pleased with my mishap, but she bought my Barbie anyway. I’m a blonde and Annie a dark brunette. I felt it only right, in light of the embarrassment I caused, to pick the Barbie with the black pony-tail.

But I really wanted the blonde one.

I was tall and skinny with a narrow face, like Barbie, but without her makeup and not as pretty. In a few years, if my chest popped out, I’d be more like her. Boys would line up to pay attention to me–without laughing, crying, or throwing things. A bright future lay ahead and I couldn’t wait.


Lesson learned: Always peddle on a straight and narrow course; wayward obstacles are waiting to smack into you.

Related Posts: Boy Crazy/Impressing Boys ; Boy Crazy/Runaway Parade; Boy Crazy/Tale of two Lennys 

Now it’s your turn: What was your most embarrassing bike crash?


© Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures, 2012 forward. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mary Norton-Miller and 1950s Suburban Adventures with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. lewiscave says:

    There are some funny stories here, thanks. Embarrassing bike crash: I had a ‘ramp malfunction’ and landed on my brothers girlfriend. So much for my chance with her friend!

  2. CJ says:

    Most embarrassing bike crash? Ummm…gosh, which one? Lol. I’d have to go with the one that actually caused the most pain, to both my pride and my crotch! I had borrowed my friend’s brother’s bike—a ten-speed. The front tire slipped into a gutter groove when we rode around the corner…BAM! That awful straight crossbar and my pubic bone collided and I was dying! Ugh! Maybe someone can tell me why a guy’s 10-speed has that bar and the ladies’ bikes do not. Just thinking about that makes me ache! Lol. Enjoyed the piece. It was fun.

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Gee, CJ, I hope you’re walking okay by now. Ouch! I’m glad you liked my story. And you’re right, why in heck do guys have that dumb bar? Maybe they like to peddle dangerously.

  3. Val Mills says:

    Not sure about the bike crash but once I had a friend with a small motorbike. She offered to teach me to ride it. I’d been on only seconds when it bucked me into the hedge!

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Val, better a hedge than a tree. I have a couple motorcycle stories with disasterous results to my pride, as well. They don’t occur until my high school years.

  4. *still chuckling* I was too scared to crash a bicycle because my uncle and cousins told me fibs about blood suckers coming up out of the creek if I fell off the bike or drive too slow. But the first time I drove a motorcycle I did ok until I met the first car. Then I steered so close to the ditch it just pulled me right in. Thankfully, the car kept moving on and I could save face by keeping that mishap to myself for many years.

  5. Barbara Davis says:

    Great story…I never knew how you got your first Barbie. I do remember that all of you had one, and my Mom would not let me have one too, although she told me it was because they were too expensive. Finally, I did get the 1962 Bubble Cut Barbie when I was 7…but I always wanted “the first one”.
    Every Christmas your Mom would make my doll the most beautiful clothes! I still have them all, and cherish them…and the memories.
    Barbara Ann

    • skinnyuz2b says:

      Hi, Barbara Ann! My sisters got into my saved Barbie dolls and clothes while I was away at college. As far as the bubble cut Barbie, that is a future story when I’m a junior in high school, regarding a disasterous hair cut.
      Now you know the ‘real’ story of why you didn’t get the first Barbie. A doll that wasn’t ‘flat’ created quite a controversy!

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