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The Coolest Kid

New on: The Grownups Wanted Us Dead, come take a bike ride with The Coolest Kid in the neighborhood.

For my 9th birthday I recieved a brand new bike. It was a pink and white Schwinn Sting Ray complete with banana seat, flared handle bars and hand brakes. It was the coolest bike in the neighborhood — which, of course, made me the coolest kid.

Playing Follow-the-Leader on our bicycles, my friends chased me around the block, through the empty field, across the playground, around the school building then — knowing I would loose the cowards — I headed straight for Dead Man’s Trail, an almost vertical drop into the big gully behind the school house.

Quilly is the pseudonym of Charlene L. Amsden, who lives on The Big Island in Hawaii. When she is not hanging out with Amoeba, she is likely teaching or sewing. Or she could be cooking, taking photographs, or even writing. But if she's not doing any of that, she's probably on Facebook or tinkering with her blog.


  1. Sounds to me like it was NOT the grown-ups that wanted you dead this time! Unless of course you consider that THEY gave you the bike! Yea…. I guess that counts! LOL!

  2. There’s something about bikes and near vertical drops, oh yeah and grazed knees and busted heads, cos we never had such things as helmets and knee pads in those days, and we’re still here.

  3. Brig — stilts — yep. My Aunt made them. I could actually climb stairs in them. I could even stand on one stilt and do a spin turn. I endured a lot of pain learning that stuff, though.

    Bazza — you’re right — no heltmets or pads, that’s how I know the grownups wanted us dead. Oh, and that near verticle drop? It was right behind the school. Yep. My elementary school was built on a cliff.

  4. CB – I told you this story over on your ‘adults’ site. A story from long ago and far away. In fact – before you were born. I was riding a bike behind that very same school, and the brakes didn’t work. I was afraid to run into one of those trees (I might get hurt) so I rode the bike over the cliff. It knocked me out, a good thing, since I didn’t remember sliding down the cliff on my face! As I said, though, after having the gravel dug out and receiving stitches between my bottom lip and my gum – I got great treats that you could ‘eat’ with a straw for several weeks! Thanks for the memory – I never think of that anymore! 🙂

  5. Jackie — I am so glad that you are all around to corroborate my stories. Folks think I make this stuff up.

    Gawpo — and what fun did you have on that bike? OC and Bill have both responded by writing about their own biking misadventures.

  6. Here is one such adventure on that bike: I was fresh from training wheels, ploughing down the street, on track to return to 229 Twentieth Century Blvd when WHAM-O! I bit it. Dumped the bike and to this day sport a small scar at the corner of my right eye. The milk man picked me up, threw me and the bike into his truck and brought me home. And he didn’t even molest me. Why, to this day, I celebrate by applying milk to cherry tomatoes.

  7. Gawpo — I can’t believe I read this last night and never answered you here, but I did answer — on your blog!

    I probably shouldn’t tell you this but in my first brush with crime, I wasn’t the victim …. but I swear, I wasn’t trying to vandalize anything. It was just cool watching the tomatoes splat like that. It’s just that some folks have no sense of humor or adventure.

    Jenna — now that all the cuts have healed, it is worth a laugh.

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