Every time it snows I am compelled to take a photo and write about Uncle Melvin’s bicycle.
Uncle Melvin, who is actually my wife’s uncle, was born in Tacoma in 1925. In those days kids were born right in the family home. Uncle Melvin’s birth home was in the Norwegian section of what was known as Hilltop in Tacoma, Washington.
Later Melvin enjoyed his bike at the family farm in Spring Valley near old Highway 99 between the two F-towns, Fife and Federal Way.
If only old bikes could talk, what tales Uncle Melvin’s bike could tell. If I could get Uncle Melvin’s bike to speak to me, I could write many bike and kid stories from the 1930s and 1940s using Westside Story as a conduit for sharing fun kid stories. I know that bikes when combined with kids, pals, and family dogs, produce all kinds of stories involving youthful adventures.
I do not understand why bikes can’t speak. After all they have spoke wheels.
I met Uncle Melvin in 1962 at my girlfriend’s family Thanksgiving celebration. By 1964 when I was still dating Uncle Melvin’s niece, he had died at the very early age of 39. He died what now has become long, long ago. While our time together was brief, I fondly remember sharing a couple of wonderful Thanksgiving dinners with Uncle Melvin.
Now the bike sits outside as a part of our yard art. Miraculously the bike does not fall over, and the only thing holding it up is a wood stick which acts as a makeshift kickstand. The 1930s were harsh economically. Uncle Melvin was lucky to have a bike. It is easy to understand how he might not have been able to afford a luxury accessory such as a folding kickstand.
Day and night the bike stands upright with a life of its own. Some winters the bike collects a blanket of snow. During each spring, summer, and fall, beautiful flowers tumble from the wicker basket attached to the handlebars.
I have written and shared photos of Uncle Melvin’s bike on several occasions in past years. I hope my readers are not getting tired of this subject. If you are, I apologize. I am aware of the well-documented principle. “Sometimes, a little Joe Boyle can go a long way.”
Fear not, I promise to never write about Uncle Melvin’s bicycle ever again until the next time it snows or maybe when the summer flowers appear as if they are trying to escape the bike’s wicker basket.