Stunt cyclist, 1967ish, 4 years old
My best guess is 1967, as that is the year my mother cut my waist length hair because of the rat's nests. That's what she called the massive tangle of curls which was entirely, genetically, her fault. The tricycle was red and I loved it. It was not long before I got my first bicycle with training wheels, a gold Hedstrom, and I promptly demanded Daddy take off the training wheels.
I liked a challenge, living on the edge, even when my age was in the single digits.
In my early teens, I saw a neighborhood boy riding a unicycle, and I decided I must do that, too. I asked for and received one for Christmas. I got two paint poles out of the utility room and used them like ski poles for balance until I learned to ride without them. My Grannie later told me my mother said she didn't think I'd ever ride it, but Grannie told her I would.
And I did. I'm 14 here.
This wasn't enough. I would sneak off with a friend who had a vintage Harley and go riding with him. We once clocked over a hundred miles an hour and another time went airborne after hitting a root in the Blue Springs region. I had to sneak because I was forbidden to ride motorcycles. My mother had seen some gruesome injuries when she worked in the emergency room, even described them to me. It made no difference. I wanted to ride a motorcycle and I did. The last @$$-whoopin' I got was for doing just that. It didn't stop me.
Freshman year, same friend and I were supposed to go to graduation that year and play Pomp and Circumstance for the seniors. The volunteer band was missing a tuba player and a clarinetist because we, dressed rather nicely, went motorcycle riding. I had on yellow dress slacks and wedge sandals and I lifted my legs as high as I could when we rode through the dip at Cherry Creek so as not to get my clothes wet. I got away with it that time.
I wonder sometimes where this spirited girl went, but there is no question at all it was thoroughly and irrevocably in my genes:
My older son is standing; my baby boy is rappelling.
More than once, a disapproving comment was made to me about the climbing nature of my baby boy. To the best of my recollection, I never once tried to hinder him. How could I deny something I'd genetically bequeathed to him?
I'd climbed my share of tall South Georgia pines, and it was one of my favorite things to do. I roller skated, forward, backward, and as fast as I humanly could.
Skating, I can tell you, is not like riding a bicycle. I donned some roller skates in my mid-thirties, went one round, promptly exited the skate floor and took those off. I'm 51 now, and have not, won't, try that again. I will grow older as gracefully as I can, but there is a part of me which still longs for an adventure.
Not some tacky midlife crisis, but a true adventure. I look forward to blogging about it, whatever it may be.