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My Best Christmas Present Ever

My best Christmas present ever.

The year was 1965, and in September we moved from my grandmother's house in Washington DC to my mother's house in Kensington MD.  It was hugely downsizing.

The first day after school I went down to the local play lot to see it full of boys my age, playing football.  I could not believe my luck!

Wheeling my bike beside me I approached the field, had my initial interview - "Are you any good?" - and began playing.

Something I could not help but notice was the pile of bicycles beside the field.  All the guys had really great 10 speed bikes.  Mine was a beat up 1 speed with a white kiddie seat and clunky wheel mud guards.

I decided right then I wanted a 10 speed bicycle for Christmas.  I had to fit in!  I had to be cool like the other guys!  

And it was a social necessity!  All the kids had bikes for a reason - that's how everyone got around, and you could tell where everyone was by which bikes were in front of which house.  We all rode everywhere on our bikes.  Usually in packs of 6 or more.

But such a gift would be a huge burden on my mother.  My brother wanted a bike also!  We didn't know if it was possible for us both to get new bikes.

Still, I hoped.  I hoped big!

Coming down and looking at the tree there it was!

There proudly stood the most beautiful Schwinn Varsity 10 speed bike in existence!  No mud flaps!  Leather seat!  And 10 speeds I did not know how to use!  I think it had a halo!

I even got the color I wanted!

Santa was good.  Santa was always good.

In my pajamas, and still dark outside, even before I started eating my stocking candy, I took it out the front door and rode around the neighborhood!

With my paper route money I bought an odometer to keep track of the mileage.

That bike went everywhere, every day.  It was transportation and freedom.

During the fall of 1966 I bet another kid that I could ride that bike 1000 miles during the NFL season.  There were 15 games that year, so I had to ride 67 miles a week.  No problem!

There was a lot of ice and snow that fall, all through December.  But I did it.  I won the bet.  I don't remember what the prize was, but my pride was satisfied and I won the bet.

I still have that bike!  It is hanging in my garage.  I maintain it and ride it.  Literally that bicycle has gone thousands of miles.  It has been through creeks, thrown over fences, jumped off of platforms, used for wheelies (which I was good at) and other tricks.  Taking it to college, it was how I got around there too.  I rode it to work at various jobs, and even to minor league baseball games in my late teens.

It has all original equipment except brake pads, tires, inner tubes, and handle bar tape.   It's oiled and ready to go right now.

The bicycle turns 50 this Christmas!  It was my best Christmas present ever!

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 17 commentsJay Markanich • December 22 2015 01:38AM

Comments

Growing up we spent a lot of time on our bikes . We ride every summer at the beach where it's completely flat (with 1 speed bikes ).

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) about 3 years ago

What a wonderful story, especially about how well you took care of it and how much you've used it. I love that you still have it and use it. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) about 3 years ago

That was a different era Michael!  We rent bikes at the beach too, and ride of the (concrete) boardwalk.

Thanks Kat.  It is a wonderful memory.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

That is great, Jay.  Presents like that are truly impactful.  That's amazing that you still have it.

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) about 3 years ago

Thanks Debbie.  It still has the sticker that registered it with the police to "protect" it if it was stolen!  I was a naive little guy.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Good morning Jay. Always wanted one, but never had one! Great story! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) about 3 years ago

Jay, that's an outstanding story. I don't think I have one that can top it

Posted by Joe Jackson, Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty) about 3 years ago

Wayne - sorry to hear that!  But you still have a favorite present!

Joe - there is no contest intended!  Your favorite is your favorite!  Nuff said.  Two years earlier I got a 100 piece Civil War action set with 50 rebel and 50 union plastic soldiers, plus other stuff like cannons and horses and fox holes.  It ranks up there really high too!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Good morning Jay,

Wish I had still had my old three speed but the off road bike will have to suffice.

My Father had a rule of no bikes on the road after dark so most times had to walk the old paper route.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 3 years ago

Good morning Jay. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed your story. I took me back to another time too. Wish I still had my bike. Merry Christmas.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) about 3 years ago

That's more modern than I thought it would be... I was looking for stone wheels, stick handlebars, etc... 

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 3 years ago

Hi Jay - It's awesome that you have kept that bike going, and are still riding it. I wonder what happened to my old bike - a very similar story.

Posted by Dick Greenberg, Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate (New Paradigm Partners LLC) about 3 years ago

Raymond - my dog and I walked and wagoned my Washington Post paper route every morning for 10 years!

Sheila - get a new one!  Create a new memory!

That's the one I traded in Fred!  You didn't know I was such a sentimental old coot, did you?

Bike heaven, Dick?  And happily waiting for you there.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Beautiful story Jay.  It's those early childhood memories that we carry with us in life that shape us later on.  Hopefully we can pass them on to the people that matter in our lives.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) about 3 years ago

Stephen - I notice on line that bike's of that age and in good shape are going for a lot of money!  That bike is not something I would ever sell, though.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

I've got a grey one, very similar on my front porch right now Jay Markanich .  When it's your pride and joy and you take care of it, they last for years and years.

Posted by DEANNA EARLY - - ( NMLS # 268590 ), Highest Ranked Mortgage Loan Originator Virginia (American National Bank and Trust) about 3 years ago

Good to know Deanna!  I agree.  I wish I had my old baseball cards now!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

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