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A CYCLIST RIDING BY

TALES OF BYGONE DAYS

When my wife's family gets together the topic of conversation often turns to tales of the "old days". A favorite tale is of Grandma's elopement and secret marriage which shocks the younger generation. Another favorite is the one about Uncle Fred, that's me, chasing Aunt Jane on her Dayton bicycle. .

There is another event which must be described before telling of the great chase however.

SHE'S TOO YOUNG, SHE'S TOO YOUNG FOR ME

It was in the spring of 1950 and I had just finished my junior year of high school when we moved to a farm near DeSoto in East central Indiana. There were a lot of badly needed improvements to the farm which kept the entire family busy from dawn to dusk, but after a couple of hectic weeks I wanted to get out and have some fun. I had not even met anyone my age in the new community. One day a young girl rode by on a shiny green and white bicycle.

My Grandmother, a feisty little person who loved to tease, said to me; "Freddy, there's a nice young girl, why don't you get acquainted?". I scornfully replied; "grandma, she's just a little girl, she's too young for me". A week or so later the same girl rode by again on her way to school for a 4-H meeting. This time I was curious and took a better look and discovered that she was older than I had first thought. And that was the beginning of a tale of a lifetime.

I WAS LOOKIN' BACK TO SEE IF
SHE WAS LOOKIN' BACK AT ME

It was not long before I became acquainted with some of the boys in the community who also had saddle horses. A few times that summer my new friends and I would gather in the evening at one of the boy's home, which was near the bicycle girl's home and play "kick the can". The girl on the bicycle whose name was Jane and her little sister Joyce joined in. A few covert looks were exchanged between Jane and I but we were shy, Jane more so than I. I learned much later that Jane's sister Joyce was teasing her, saying that I was flirting with her which was true of course. Jane wouldn't admit that she had noticed though.

THE CHASE

Let me set the scene for what happened next. Jane lived just down the road from our farm and in between, Jane's father was building their new home. A little beyond Jane's home there was a creek and an old plank bottomed bridge.

One afternoon I was returning home on my horse and when I came to the bridge I crossed with a great clatter of hoof beats. Up ahead Jane had just bicycled onto the road and was heading for the new house. She must have heard the clatter of hoofs on the bridge because she glanced back at the approaching horse and rider. Being shy she didn't want to encounter me on the road. This prompted her to pedal faster. I spurred my horse on and was rapidly closing the gap but Jane pedalled even faster. I responded by urging the horse to go faster yet. I caught up with Jane just as she careened into the driveway of the new house. The look on her face was a combination of embarassment and excitement. I was amused but also excited. I imagine the horse only thought of the hay that awaited at the barn. Little did we know what the future held.

PICTURES:

The top picture is of Jane and my 1931 Model A Ford taken in 1951. The picture of Jane's 1949 Dayton bike was taken in 1999 after sitting idle for over 40 years. During that time someone removed the crank. The last picture taken in 1948, is of me and my horse Lady.

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Last revised: 10/23/99
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