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Sting Ray

Essay by   •  December 27, 2010  •  Essay  •  840 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,073 Views

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TIPPING POINT

Sting Ray

It was the Christmas of 1971 that I received a brand new, non hand-me-down Schwinn bicycle. It was called the Sting-Ray, and was a bike that this 10 year old would never forget. My father assembled it in the basement of our house in Queens, and after doing so, forgot to bring it upstairs prior to Christmas morning. So it was after all the presents were opened that I heard my sisters laughing at my father. They were looking down the cellar stairs watching him circling the basement on what was my last present. I flew down to see it, then to touch it. It was painted metallic blue like my dad's Chevelle, with high rise handle bars, and a wide, slick back tire just like those found on motorcycle choppers. To top it all off was a pearl white banana seat with a sissy bar. It was "the bike". Unfortunately, there was snow on the ground forcing me to wait to give it its appropriate test ride.

A few months later the snow was gone and the weather warmer. My bike no longer had that new car smell. I was comfortable on it and we both looked good together, as I was often told. There were not many restrictions in life then. One was to not leave the bike anywhere unattended where it could grow legs and walk away. I lived in a predominantly Italian-Jewish neighborhood that was safe and friendly, but it was still the city. The most important rule was to never leave the block. When my mom stuck her head out the window and called for me to come home, I could hear it two blocks away which meant I need to be home within a few minutes or it was interrogation time.

One Saturday afternoon I decided to head off towards Jamaica on Woodhaven Boulevard since none of my friends were around. As I got closer to Jamaica Avenue, I noticed this familiar looking guy wearing Navy style clothes just like on the popcorn box. He called to me "Hey, Johnny Boy!" I then realized it was Freddie Blind. He was one of the big kids who used to live down the street. I wasn't allowed to hang around the older kids, not because of my parents, but because they would let me. They were too cool. These guys would race go carts and build exclusive clubhouses. The most exciting thing was when they would soak tennis balls in gasoline, light them up and kick'em onto the Van Wyck Expressway. The cars would swerve, horns would blare. It was great! All of these memories flashed through my mind as I replied back to Freddie with a humble "hello." I knew he was coming home from the war, even though I didn't know much about wars. My most vivid memory of the Vietnam War was repeatedly hearing my dad, half-drunk,

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