1950 Memories of Suburban Adventures

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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?


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