A couple of days ago I began a story which I call, "Engish Racer". This is a story about things that happened while driving my English racer bicycle. The plan is to tell you the story here in my blog, serial fashion. Publishing what I have written since yesterday.
The format of this story is sort of odd. The main story is about me going on a bike trip to East Los Angeles Airport to find my dad. But there will be side stories that tell of adventures that I had over the years with my English Racer bicycle. I don't know if I can be successful with this format. But I am going to try.
[English racer story continued]
The collision sent me tumbling over the handle bar. I landed in the street, bruised but not badly hurt. The boy that I hit was now lying in the street. I could see white bone sticking out through his torn jeans.
When police arrived, they asked me for my home address? Was my mom home? A policeman told me to go home and return with my mom. My bike's front wheel was bent and the bike could not be ridden. I walked my bike the four blocks to my house. My mom and I walked back to the accident scene. My mom and dad were not angry about the bike accident. I never was punished.
Looking for dad [continued]
I had only a few pennies in my pocket as I whizzed down Eastern Avenue hill into the heart of East Los Angeles. But in 1949 a penny was all that was needed to buy a hand full of salted nuts from gas station vending machines. At the bottom of the Eastern Avenue hill is Floral Avenue. I only knew the approximate area of the airport where my dad's airplane was parked, so I headed in that direction. I biked on Floral to Ford Boulevard where there were several wrecking yards where cars were dismantled and used auto parts sold. I knew that Whittier Boulevard was somewhere ahead and kept going south until I got there.
At the intersection of Whittier and Atlantic was a burger joint called Stan's Drive-In. They had a peanut vending machine there. I bought some peanuts and sat on the curb eating. The salty peanuts made me so thirsty. One of the carhops offered me a glass of ice water. Is there anything better than ice water after eating salty peanuts?
I've always been fascinated by parakeets. In 1952 I was going to Woodrow Wilson Junior High School located in the El Sereno area of Los Angeles. Most often I took the school bus from City Terrace to Wilson. But once in awhile I biked to school. One day after school, I biked to downtown El Sereno. There was a pet store there that sold parakeets. I wanted a parakeet pet so much! I read everything that I could get my hands on about raising parakeets. I learned that a male and female parakeet living together in the same cage might have baby parakeets.
I needed a large bird cage. The pet store had a cage. It was large enough to raise a family of parakeets. The cage cost $30! And I had no money. Also, I had no way to bring the cage the four mile distance from downtown El Sereno to my house in City Terrace. Could I use my bike to carry a 3 foot long and 2 foot wide bird cage? I knew in my heart that I could do it.
I went around my neighborhood offering to clear weeds for money. I had done this kind of work before for my parents. Mom and dad did not pay me to clear weeds from our backyard. Those were chores. No pay for chores. Once I worked with an older teenager who paid me to help him with weed clearing jobs that he had. After a month of working on my own clearing weeds, I had saved $20. My mom loaned me $10. Now I had enough money to buy my bird cage.
At 9 in the morning I biked to the pet shop in El Sereno and bought the cage. The plan was to place the cage on the bike's handlebars and drive home. This plan was barely manageable. The cage was longer than my handlebars. I found that I could hold onto the cage and steer the bike. The cage was not tied down. It was just sitting there. My arms got tired fast. So, I drove a bit and rested. Four miles is a long way! By the time I reached City Terrace, I was sweaty and tired and almost exhausted. It was close to dark when I got back home.
The birdcage was set up in my mom's dining room and remained there until 1972 when the City Terrace house was sold. I raised parakeets all of those years. My zaida [grandfather] had two of my parakeets which he taught to speak..
[To be continued]
Location: El Chaco RV Park
Elevation: 15 meters