Linda Treiber

Linda Treiber
April 04
a.k.a. Linnnn
You are cordially invited to close your eyes and throw a dart at any one of the titles listed in "My Links" below. Those stories are all bits and pieces of me. Let me know what you think...


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1 Act Play - 4 Generations of Women
The Beach Divas
Random, Because I Can
I Fought the Law and...
Ghosties and Paranormal Musings
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The Baby Tree. A ghostly 1 act play
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SEPTEMBER 11, 2011 2:47AM

Dad and the Purple Schwinn

Rate: 38 Flag
For Dad, with love, on his 90th birthday.
“Let’s take a bike ride!”
Dad liked to ride bikes along the golf course road before dinner some nights.  Since our house was one of the first built on this new course on the outskirts of Ft. Lauderdale, he enjoyed checking out all the new home sites rising up from those scrubby sand lots. 
He had his English racing bike painted rusty brown and equipped with impressive toe harnesses on the spiky corrugated pedals.  My brother had his banana- seat high-handlebar Easy Rider thrasher. My younger brother still had a fire engine red tricycle so he was stuck rolling around the driveway in circles under Mom’s watchful eye. 
And I had my brand new shiny purple Schwinn girl’s bike with the saddle bag baskets over the rear tire.
Or did.
“Ready to go?  Where’s your bike?”
It was my birthday present and I hated it. 
All my friends had ten-speed boy’s bikes with handle bar brakes. I asked for one of those. But somewhere my request got lost in translation, or Dad got a good deal, and I was burdened with a prissy purple Schwinn girl’s bike.  It had only one speed and to stop I had to brake by backpedalling.  
I was expected to ride that pixie dust and moonbeam mess to the school bus stop every morning, lock it up, and then ride it home every afternoon along with everybody.  I felt like a sparkly unicorn leaving a slip stream of rainbows amidst a herd of sleek racehorses.  It was humiliating.
But the purple Schwinn was gone. And, I only just then remembered what happened to it.
“Where’s your bike?”
Half way home that afternoon, the chain fell off the purple Schwinn and made me fall down. I was miffed and had two skinned knees to show.  So I left it by the side of the road and walked home. I meant to tell Mom right away but forgot. I was easily distracted at that age by things like snacks, cartoons or dust particles floating in sunbeams.  And looking back, I wonder if it was semi-subconsciously on purpose to forget about it.  I just put it out of my mind.  Now I had to ‘fess up.
Bike ride cancelled, Dad loaded me into his car and we went to pick the purple Schwinn up.  But, oops, it was gone.  Stolen. Apparently a shiny new purple Schwinn lying on the side of the road for three hours was too much temptation for those so inclined. 
“Oh no, Dad! It’s gone. Gosh! Darn! Shoot! Maybe we can get a new ten-speed boy’s bike with handlebar brakes for me now?”
He gave me the “look.”  It’s the one perfected by every pissed-off disappointed Dad since time began. He cleared his throat and issued the edict in a measured, yet intimidating, tone -
“You could not take care of the bike you had and you think we’re going to just run straight out and buy you a damn new one? No. Now you will be walking…everywhere.”
Thus began my wilderness weeks of walking across wet golf course grass and vacant lots prickling with sticker burrs in the dank Florida heat to and from the bus stop.  Much of the trek was spent swatting clouds of mosquitoes that lay in wait to chew me up and suck me dry.
No matter how much time I spent on my grooming each day, I always arrived to school a disheveled wreck with pie plate sized pit stains and soaking wet saddle shoes speckled with golf course grass.   After school, I pretended I didn’t care as I watched all my friends hop on their ten-speeds and zoom off to 7-ll for Slurpees and penny candy. Or to the pier.  Or the community pool. I was left to slog home, sweaty and downtrodden. I cried a lot. But only when no one could see.  I still had my pride.
Nights I lay in bed and listened to tree frogs chirp in the eucalyptus trees. On my transistor radio a woman with an airy quavering voice trilled a song: “Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone…” I fervently wished, even prayed, that my purple Schwinn would miraculously appear in the garage sparkling loyally waiting for me to wheel her out and ride. But no amount of wishing was going to fix it and surely Jesus had more important things to think about.
One day Dad stuck his head in while I was moping and reading in my room. 
“Come on out here a minute.”
I spent a significant amount of effort dodging Dad’s attention during this time.  So when he actually addressed me directly, I jumped like a cricket following him to the driveway where he was pulling something out of the trunk of his car.
“Fix this up if you want. One of my patients was going to throw it away, but maybe you might want it? There’s sandpaper in the workshop…”
It was a relic. Rusty from handlebars to wheel rim, this thing was a flaking stinking disaster. An ancient crone of a broken down girl’s beach bike, she was a beast.  No ten-speed derailleur here, no handlebar brakes. She was fat all over, including the tires. And they were flat.
I was never so grateful as I was at that very moment.
For days, with help from Mom and Dad, I worked on her.  I sandpapered all the rust off and found that she had at one time sported black paint.  I soaked her rusty chain in Coca Cola and oiled it, used my saved up birthday money to get the bulbous white-wall tires repaired, and buffed up her pitted chrome parts to a righteous shine. I found an old chamois cloth and sewed a new seat cover.  A smooth coat of black enamel Rust-o-leum paint finished her makeover and a white wicker basket garlanded with purple flowers strapped to the handlebars added a surprise feminine touch.  She was a proud dowager wearing her Sunday hat in the islands; the flowers an homage to the long lost purple Schwinn.
She wasn’t pretty, but she was mine. And she could roll. Big and powerful, I could speed along just as fast as a ten-speed. Better than a ten speed too, I found out, was not having to fiddle with all the levers and pulleys.  I just stood up on those pedals and rode like the wind.
The kids with fancy racing bikes were superior in every way, and they let me know it.  But somehow I shook it off and just appreciated that big beast of a bike. My big beast of a bike.

I think Dad had me figured out.

I love you, Dad.

Click on the titles below for more family stories:

Dad Flipped a Coin for Mom and Lost

Dad Creates A Stir

Dad’s Sunday Lesson or Jesus in My Tummy and the F-Word

Dad Builds Character

Dad’s Mandatory Family Dinners

Of Mice and Dad

Of Mice and Dad: The Tail of the Tale

Georgia Justice Hostage Show: Aunt Polly’s Ordeal in Cordele

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I was seven year old boy and couldn’t ride a bike. No big deal, in 1948 only rich kids had bikes anyway. My dad found a cheap (it had to be cheap - he only made $8 a week as a clerk in Jimmy Campbell's general store) big old balloon-tired girls bike. It weighted a ton. I know because I picked it up - a lot!

But after many spills and weeks of hamburger knees, all of a sudden I could ride!! What joy! What utter bliss! I loved that bike more than I loved myself. Then dad lost his job at Jimmy Campbell’s store. Much got sold during the months of unemployment that followed. My beautiful, red, CCM, girls, balloon-tired, heavy monster went too.

A life lesson.......

Love it! Parents.... when they buy the wrong thing when all our friends own something much cooler it can scar us for life. But that old bike was WAY cooler than that purple Schwinn. =o)

Linnn, this is one of my favorite pieces I've read here. Your writing is marvelous and the story is a treasure. Happy 90th Birthday to your dad. ~r
I never got the ten speed thing with the narrow wheels and the uncomfprtable posture that you had to assume in order to ride it. This was a wonderful memory of you and your dad that I enjoyed as well and wish him a very happy birthday. Your description of riding your bike reminded me of my big yellow Schwinn beachcomber with the back pedal brakes. I really loved that bike.
Bless you for this, Linn (and of course, him), r.
First thing I read today, and I doubt I'll read anything else half as good. It's funny how our parents get smarter the older we get. Funny and heartfelt story that made me think of my own dad. Thank You!
Great writibg and great parenting! Happy birthday to your dad!
Congrats to a might handsome and wise 90 year old. What a blessing to have him.
What a great story, and so well told. And I don't know when I've seen a sentence this Whimsically creative: "I felt like a sparkly unicorn leaving a slip stream of rainbows amidst a herd of sleek racehorses." And the Coca Cola trick for derusting old chains; golly, I hadn't thought of that in many years, or remembered my dad's comment about it: "Just think what it's doing to your stomach." Your dad was indeed smart: he knew that your investing so much of your effort and creativity in restoring the bike would make it yours, and you.
Jerry has his favorite sentence, which I like, too, almost as much as I was easily distracted at that age by things like snacks, cartoons or dust particles floating in sunbeams.

I did have to look up derailleur - small price to pay, tho, for a read so artfully entertaining I resented your dear dad right up to when I tried to give my screen a happy-birthday high five.
Fantastic post Linnn. I wanted a certain, specific Schwinn bike when I was 9 or 10. They had different names for the bike depending on the color - they were stingray's with gears and hand brakes. Of course I received a cheap Huffy knock off instead, so I can relate. Thank God for Dads, eh?
Wicked good story-telling, Linnnn. Read some of your earlier pieces, and they're just as well-done. Congrats to your Dad from a fellow Virgo.
Linnn, This was just the best! The child in all of us can relate to this on so many levels. Like Bo said Happy Birthday to your Dad from a fellow Virgo as well. By the way, I am still studying dust particles floating in sunbeams ... Loved this story.
What a handsome man.. and such a lovely blog for him.
I was not going to come on OS today.. but I saw this on FB..
Great story! Loved this on a Sunday morning with my coffee. Reminds me of the pieces I would read when I got the Sunday paper. My dad bought my brother a Schwinn banana seat with the cool handlebars and I rode that thing everywhere. He also got the first English racer 10speed which I rode too. For some reason he wasn't a big traveler, but I put a lot of miles on his bikes. I now have a Specialized mountain bike a bike -y friend put together from Craigs list for me, I love it! Ride on! enjoyed.
Lovely, Linnnn.
I can see it all - thankyou.
& begrudging ;-) thanks to your Dad.
( ps. My youngest has a simple elegant Schwinn, & loves it. )
Great story! Great lessons! I love your dad...wish mine was still here to see 90! I really enjoyed this piece linnnn!
"I was never so grateful as I was at that very moment."

Happy Birthday to your Dad. What a wonderful story Linnn.. a tear even, yeah..
A fabulous piece of writing, linnnnnnn, and I'm sure one of your dad's best birthday presents. My far younger self of decades ago could feel those skinned knees and see the white-walled tires. Great ending. (and I still like those old brakes best, pushing back hard with one food on the pedal. Stupid hand brakes. )
What a wonderful story! Having read a bit about your Dad, I think you might be right . . . he had your number . . .

Happy Belated Birthday, Linnnn's Dad!
I sooo love your description of that purple girl's bike & how it made you feel -- you are such a fine writer, & this is a perfectly excellent post! And here's wishing your wonderfully wise & handsome dad a happy birthday!
A great post. How is it we never forget our first bike. Actually, I had my sister's hand-me-down schwinn. . . her dream bike, but anyway. Got a fancy Trek 27-speed now... more than enough to get around the park.
Wonderful to see this beautifully written essay on the cover! YAAY! congrats Linnnnnnn!
Your dad looks just great on the cover...
A nice ride down Memory Lane.
Beautiful. Resonates with all of us who had fathers who worked with us to fix up old bikes. The best to your father on his birthday.
How lucky you are to have your dad around and celebrate his 90th birthday with this wonderfully written piece dedicated to him. He looks very handsome and loving in his photo as he must be in real life as your words reveal. Many happy returns to him to celebrate with his loving family.
What a great story, and so well told, I was swatting and sweating (and pouting) with you all the way. Good for you and good for your dad... somehow the good ones know exactly how to teach us the right lessons.
I loe the father daughter bond that is so warmly evident here. I love the way you write, remember and love your father. No greater birthday gift than this. You come from good "stock" as my dad would have declared. And, I do so remember my first bike. A Schwinn, too. It was purple. No joke.
Great story, and what a terrific photo of your dad with those pink flowers in front of him. What a loving wise smile on his face. What a lucky daughter you are!
"An ancient crone of a broken down girl’s beach bike, she was a beast." "She was a proud dowager wearing her Sunday hat in the islands; the flowers an homage to the long lost purple Schwinn."

Lovely images! I had a bike like that: got it at a police auction for $10, cleaned it up and painted it with (yes!) Rust-oleum!
just managed to be beautifully nostalgic without being saccharine...much deserved EP...rated
Parents.. they really know how to get a way with life. well consider they have more experience on earth more than we do..
I could really relate to this wonderful piece. I'm heartbroken that my beloved retro Huffy three-speed was recently stolen. I didn't think any one would want it. Go figure.
Yay ... customizing a clunker. Good times!
A wonderful story of true love. Thank you
really nice looking chap...catch the spry look this gent has...and unmatched fatherly discernment.
What redemption; what a nice touch with the flowers.
This is a wonderful story!

I love it!

This is such a wonderful story. I am hooked. Where do I start ???
Can't wait to dive into the rest. My first bike hung around when I got my three speed. I got a rusty bike for winter riding in Florida, but some idiot stole it. Replaced it with a Huffy from Walmart. Will see how I make out this winter. I like 'em rusty. Goes with the patina of seniority.
Your DAD is just Great.Cheers
Pretty universal - dads and bikes and daughters - great story.