The Wilson Story

Base

Bicycles 

    As Christmas was a time when you could get Santa Claus to give you things that your parents couldn't afford. We always had a big Christmas at 394 North 100 East. Everyone in the neighborhood had a bike and they could ride but I couldn't. Dad said that maybe Santa Claus would bring me a bike for Christmas if I could learn to ride a bike. What a dilemma, I could get a bike if I could learn to ride, but how can you learn to ride a bike without a bike to learn. Ha, I turned to Glenn Ray, he had a bike and he would teach me. Even better he had his sister’s bike so it was a girls bike and they are easier to learn on. So we spent the months of November and December trying to teach me to ride a bike. For some reason learning to ride a bike was hard for me. I would do fine as long as Glenn Ray was running alongside but when he would turn me loose I would tip over. I must have put a lot of dents in Janice's bike (Glenn Ray's sister). But finally a week before Christmas I could ride well enough to convince Dad that Santa should bring me a bicycle.

    Christmas morning there was with a new Co-op bike by the our Christmas tree. I loved that bike until I tried to ride it, and it took almost all day to ride a boys bike. I was just too short for this bike as my legs would just reach the petals if I leaned from side to side. It took the whole vacation to learn to ride this bike. I don't remember much about this bike as I was not as good at riding as I had imagined I would be. I do remember taking my bike soon after I got it to the movie. Glenn Ray and I had waited to see the movie “I Shot Jessie James” when it came to the new Huish Theater. We parked our bikes along the highway where people could see them. This was the new theater and one of the first movies in the theater built for the Payson Centennial in 1950. As we left the movie there was Glenn Ray's sister’s bike but mine was gone. I thought someone must have hidden, but after searching and sobbing I began to realize that my new bicycle was stolen. This was a sad day at my house. How could I get my bike stolen when we had been so careful? I thought I would never ride again. I didn't want to talk about bikes. I could never ask Santa for another because I had lost my bike while it was still new, the bike that he had given me.

    This was the worst thing that could have happened. It was not good in Boyd's house to lose something. No one locked doors in Payson, because no one stole, at least I thought. This was like locking the barn door after the horse got out. I kept checking with the police but no one found my bicycle. Christmas came and passed and I did not dare ask for a bicycle. How could I? I was a failure; I had lost my bike. Finally the next Christmas I asked for a bike, but expected nothing very fancy as I had lost my good bike. Santa Claus always went way overboard at the Wilson's and I found this neat Schwinn bike, top of the line. I had the best bike in town and it was red and silver. It was much better than I had hoped for. I could now ride with the kids in the neighborhood. I guarded this bike with great care. Santa Claus gave this special bike because it had a built in lock.  To ride the bike you needed a key. In hindsight that may be the reason that I received such a great bike. I don’t think that I ever took it to the movie.

    I could now explore the area on my new bike.  Some of the streets in town had cement sidewalks and others just grass or dirt. One of the memorable trips was to negotiate the corner at 3rd east and 4th north.  I was traveling east on 4th north and I wanted to turn north onto the sidewalk on 3rd east.  This was a tricky turn to make but I had done it several times before.  As I made the turn I just missed the bridge. My front wheel went in the ditch and stopped the bike abruptly. I went over the handle bars and hit my head on the corner post.  I have yet to decide which hurt more the error or the post. My bike and I were OK but my pride was hurt. How could I miss the bridge?

    The bike did have an accident and fortunately I was not near it.  My dad was backing the old ’47 Oldsmobile down the driveway when the door caught the front wheel of the bike, pushing the bike against the steps on the back porch.  The only damage was to bend the front wheel of my bike. The saving grace was that my father had caused the problem. Somehow this evened the score for me losing my first bike. We tried to fix it but it was permanently out of balance.  It was very difficult to ride without hands on the handlebar because the bike would always turn to one side.  I was the only guy in town who could not ride without hands. My friend Neil could go to and from school without using hands.

    Bicycles were very useful for getting around on bright sunshiny days before driver's licenses. One day Dick Spencer and I decided to visit some of the good looking girls that lived on West Utah Avenue. As we were traveling through town we decided that we had time for some soft ice cream from Chipman's confectionery store. We each got our cone and got back on our bikes and started West on Utah Avenue. Just in front of the movie theater Dick's front tire hit my back axle. I heard a scream and looked to my right just in time to see Dick do a full 360 landing next to me on the concrete. He was just sitting there with his ice cream and cone fully intact. The front wheel of his bike had stopped, throwing him through the air. Analysis of the accident revealed that the inner tube had bulged out through a hole in his front tire. When this 8” bulge hit the fender support, Dick was launched through the air. We finished our ice creams amidst hysterical laughter. How could we get home? We went and borrowed some black electrical tape, the duct tape of our generation, to fix the bulge. We squeezed the tube forcing the air back into the tire, wrapped the hole with electrical tape and went on our way. It seems that this fix lasted for quite some time as Dick was in no hurry to get a new tire.

PS. It seems logical that this was the second time a bulge had occurred on this tire because it would be more reasonable that the axle would catch tape on the tire rather than the tire. Supporting this is the fact of how fast we figured out how to fix the damage.

    Not too long after getting a bike Glenn Ray came with the proposition that I take over his paper route. He promised if I would take the paper route I would get leg strength and be a fast runner as I was the slowest kid in town. This was very attractive to me. This was a false promise but the next Wilson boy in line would be the fastest kid in town. He also pointed out the advantage that this route paid the highest rate because it had the most hills. I didn't realize that meant it was the hardest. Dad and Mom said that it was my paper route, and they were not going to do like some parents and drive the car to deliver papers. I had to do the job and do it right by myself. My paper route covered most of the first ward as it went from Main street on the west to the end of town on the east, between Highway (1st North) and the park. I always had between 45 and 50 papers to deliver.

    I delivered papers on bike daily for about 15 months with few exceptions. Glen Ray delivered for one week while we were on vacation.  One day in the dead of winter Dad broke down and drove me around on a very cold Sunday morning. I rode my horse Ginger instead of my bike on a couple of occasions  In the heart of winter I would often leave my bike and finish the over hill loop on foot as the back wheel would freeze up.  I could usually finish the route riding or pushing the bike.  

    This was a good mode of transportation until dad bought the green International truck.  With careful pleading I could use the truck for necessary transportation, going to work, hauling horses and a pig once. I enjoyed my bike but I loved the green truck.

Gpa Ken