The Way It Was – A boys bike


Editor’s note: This is another column in Bill Boyd’s new series, “The Way It Was,” about growing up in Marysville. Bill continues to work with the Union County Historical Society to obtain information for his stories. With Marysville and Union County celebrating Bicentennial anniversaries in 2019 and 2020, respectively, these articles help depict what life was like in those early years.

When you were a kid, did you ever want something so much you could almost taste it? That’s the way I was when I was about nine or ten years old. I had inherited my older sister’s bicycle. She was close to nine years older than me, so the bike was pretty beat up. I didn’t mind that, however. A lot of boys who were friends of mine rode beat up bicycles, but they were boys bikes. Mine was a girls bike.
I just can’t tell you how much I wanted a boys bicycle. Maybe the following Christmas I would get one. In the summer of that year, however, we moved from our house on West 5th St. to 333 South Court, right next door to Randall’s Bakery.
When we made the move, my parents made it clear that they were buying a lot of new furniture, so a new bicycle for me for Christmas was out of the question. I was disappointed, of course, but I understood. So I erased all thoughts of a new bicycle from my mind.
Some time later, I can’t remember exactly when, a boy about my age moved into the house on the southeast corner of Seventh and Court Streets. His name was Bud Huffman.
Bud and I soon became friends, because we had several common interests. We both loved to roller skate, and we spent hours skating all over the neighborhood, especially on those smooth stone walks around the courthouse and the West School Building. We both also enjoyed sports, and we spent a lot of time throwing a football around in the schoolyard along the south side of the public library.
Bud and I had something else in common. You see, Bud also rode a beat up, hand-me-down girls bicycle that had belonged to his older sister, Joyce. So Bud and I both rode old girls bikes. That wasn’t easy for either of us to take.
I didn’t even put a bicycle on my Christmas wish list that year. Instead, I asked for a few games, a football jersey and a model airplane kit. On Christmas morning, I was pleased to see that I got some of those things.
When all of our presents were opened, my parents went into the kitchen to start breakfast while I sat on the sofa looking at my presents.
Then all of a sudden, my dad came riding a bicycle through the dining room and into the entrance hall. He tooted the bicycle horn as he rode right into the living room. It’s hard to explain how surprised I was. You could have knocked me over with a proverbial feather.
It was the most beautiful bicycle I had ever seen. It was a Schwinn, black and ivory, with white sidewall tires. I was so happy there were tears in my eyes. I wanted to take it outdoors and start riding it, but my mother said I had to eat breakfast and get dressed first. I gulped down my breakfast, put on my clothes, and took my new bicycle outdoors.
I started riding it on the sidewalk, on the west side of Court Street, past the West School Building and the public library, to the corner of Sixth and Court. Then I turned it around and rode back home. As I rode past Bud’s house, he came running across the street. He had looked out the window, and he saw me riding a few minutes earlier. He ran alongside me as I rode the bike back home.
When we got to our house, we sat on the steps and talked for a while. Bud said he didn’t get a bike for Christmas, and I felt sad for him. Then he asked if he could take a ride on my new bike. So he and I spent the rest of the morning taking turns riding my new boys bicycle around the block. I think he liked it just as much as I did.
When I went inside to eat lunch, Bud asked if he could ride the bike while I ate, and he rode it around the neighborhood. While he was riding, I started eating as fast as I could so I could go back outdoors.
I went back outside, and we sat on the steps and talked for a bit. Then we took turns riding the bicycle for the rest of the day. In fact, Bud actually rode my new bike more than I did that day, and that became a kind of a joke between us over the years.
I believe the last time I saw Bud Huffman was somewhere around 15 years ago. He had come to Marysville for a visit, and he stopped by our house on Sherwood Avenue. We both had a great time, and before he left, he smiled and jokingly asked if he could ride my bicycle around the block a few times before he left. Boy, did that bring back memories.
Bud passed away a few years ago, but I often think of the good times we had together when we were kids. Those were all good days, even when we both were riding a beat up girls bike.
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