Forgive the all-in-the-family post, but this is a fun story. My uncle John Sloan writes:
As the youngest–by several years–of three kids, I was used to hand-me-downs. Usually, it worked out pretty well. My brother’s toys and sports equipment were generally pretty cool and broken in–but not broken–by the time I got them. But the timing was all wrong when it was time for me to move up to a bike big enough to ride to school. My brother was still using his current bicycle, so the one that came down to me was my older sister’s baby-blue, balloon-tired, 24-inch Schwinn.
It, of course, had no crossbar. It was a girls’ bike.
My big brother didn’t generally make it his business to solve my problems, but he could see the angst that this was causing me […] as the big kids taunted me with shouted remarks about my gender identity.
“Hey, look at the shrimp on the girls’ bike!”
So I was grateful, indeed, when he pulled me and the bike into the garage with the equipment needed to solve my dilemma.
The rest of the story really does go, as he puts it, “like an episode of Leave It To Beaver.”
This is from one of his columns for the Star-Courier in Kewanee, Illinois. I always enjoy reading them, because they’re a reminder that a different media galaxy—a different public sphere—still exists, far from the buzz and flow of Google Reader, Twitter, and Snarkmarket threaded comments. (Sorry, just had to get that in there again.)
Fun fact: My great-grandfather Simpson Sloan was, circa 1896-1898, a designer of bicycles. And remember, bikes were basically the internet of the 1890s! Exciting, accessible, full of promise. He even built one called “the Sloan Special.”