David’s Christmas Bike

While looking through some old converted 8mm home movies, I ran across this snippet of Brother David getting his first bicycle. The best part is watching him polish the fingerprints off the fender at the end.

Tech note: Brother Mark moved the old 8mm movies to VHS tapes. I used an ION Audio VCR 2 PC USB VHS Video to Computer Converter to copy them to a digital file. They’ve lost something in all the gyrations (and they weren’t all that great to begin with), but they still bring back a lot of memories for me.

Bikes were part of our life

By the summer, he was riding his bike to ball games. (After pumping up the front tire.)

5 Replies to “David’s Christmas Bike”

  1. I only had three bikes growing up. The first was a 20 incher with chrome fenders with blue frame…a very cooling looking bike, but with solid rubber tires. This meant that the bike was a hundred pounds and very heavy to ride and to push.
    I got new bike in the third grade a 26-inch from Monkey Wards; it was a Huffy that was dark red with cream-colored stripes…very nice and very big for 3rd grader. In those days things were bought that you “could grow into”, I remember having to stand up to ride the thing most of the time. I did finally grow into it and it was great bike.
    My next bike was a Christmas bike in the sixth grade, a red racing bike with a Stromley Archer 3 speed. I was king of CAPE on that bike. I rode that thing down the big West End Blvd. (at the northern end going south down hill) I was timed at almost 50 mph, peddling as fast as I could! The bike was so cool it was stolen twice…once by a ner-do- well quarterback…who will remain unnamed here. The bike was recovered near the college where the miscretes left it. The second time it was stolen from the Capaha Pool…No, it was not locked…and it was gone forever! (Sniff!)
    After that I either ran where every I wanted to go or got a ride from Mom or Dad or maybe YOUR mom or dad, until I got car…but bikes did expand our universes allow us to have fun all over town!


  3. So much for “Confession is good for the Soul!” Thanks Terry Hopkins for protecting my identity so well. You only know two Quarterbacks….. Mike Schuette and Me. In this instance….. it was BOTH of us. When one of your oldest friends confesses ‘in private’and asks for forgiveness – after 55 years of the heavy weight of his committing the only illegal act in an otherwise virtually unblemished life – one would think your basic ‘milk of human kindness’ would prevent you from calling me out to every one we know – and on the Internet for everyone in the world!! But I guess ‘that boat has sailed’.

    Further…. Mr. Magnum P.U. Hopkins… it appears your deteriorating memory is crumbling as surely as your renown investigative skills! So it appears I’ll have to come clean with the whole unsavory story to set the record straight for posterity.

    (as best as I remember)

    by a Ner-Do-Well Miscreant QB

    It was a beautiful Fall day in 1958 when future Athletic H.O.F. Michael Schuette looked down at the Franklin playground bike-rack from his Louisiana street house on the hill next door. School, and the 4th grade, had just started a few weeks before, and we were still mourning the end of another great Summer of running and playing ball – sun up to sun down – in our safe little neighborhood in idyllic 1950s Cape Girardeau.

    To Mike’s surprise… some spoiled rich kid had forgotten to take home his brand spankin’ new “26-inch from Monkey Wards Huffy bike that was dark red with cream-colored stripes”! Mike mentioned it to me and pointed it out as we rode by on our way to Capaha Park to play baseball. Mike rode his “made from used parts & put together” bike his dad had crafted and given to him on his 9th birthday last year. Well actually it had been “our birthday” as we were both born the same day and in the same maternity ward at Southeast Hospital on August 16th, 1948. Mike and I had been inseparable friends since the Brune’s moved to Luce Street from the Lorimier Street duplex in 1953 when I was five years old.

    Good friend and running mate, Mark Kirkpatrick, was riding with us that Saturday, and he had also been born on “our day- 8/16” – only he was born exactly one year later in 1949. We always accused him of being “a quarter short and a ‘year’ late.” Another buddy, the ‘late-great’ Joe Brochmeyer, was also with us that day to make four guys and a perfect “Indian Ball” game. We were headed to the big ball diamond a Capaha. Mark and Joe had bikes and I always rode on the handlebars of Mike’s bike – that we both referred to as “our birthday present”.

    Why didn’t I have a bike you may ask? Well, that’s a little story in it’s self that I’ll briefly recount here. Being one of the four Brune boys (born within 7 years of each other)was not always as much fun as everyone assumed. Money was always tight… so the ‘boys – as a unit’ – got one chance at all things considered “Affluent” – so “we” had better not screw it up. The three major “affluent things” that the three younger boys never got a chance to experience growing up were: Bicycles, Cub Scouts, & Dance Lessons. The reason?? obviously…. the eldest – Charles Gregory “the Tick” Brune – blew it for all of us.

    The beautiful black “Aero-Stream Deluxe” 26 inch Monkey Wards bike had been left in the front yard and stolen after only 6 weeks of ‘Tick’s’ hap-hazard use and abuse. The cool Cub Scout Uniform, with all the trimmings, had been worn to Pack meetings for about a month – before Tick became bored with the whole “scout merit badge routine”. And the Tap Dance Lessons lasted only long enough for Tick to learn to “Shuffle off to Buffalo”.

    For any of you that wondered why we nicknamed Greg the blood sucking “TICK”….. now you know. The younger boys did get to wear the Cub Scout uniform “in the house only” and to be pretend Cubs. However, we were afraid to leave the house because “the Tick” assured us that would be ‘illegal’ and jail terms would be probable when the neighbors reported us.

    As the 35 year neighbor to the Tick Brunes – when ever I hear loud music coming from his house – I can’t help but imagine him in there “shuffling off to Buffalo while singing the heralded Cub Scout fireside songs”.

    Well,enough about the “rest of the story” and emotional scars of recalling how great it was to be one of the Brune boys. Back to the story of my fall from grace and venture into a possible life of crime.

    The next Saturday we friends had planned a trip up to awe inspiring “Houck Stadium” to see where the famous Cape State Indians played football, and to toss the ol’ pigskin around on a real white stripped tundra. Everyone was excited and pumped, but Mike was kind of dreading the long ride up there with his faithful companion on the handle-bars.

    He said “I have an idea… that bike has been up at Franklin for more than a week now, so obviously the ‘rich kid’ doesn’t really care that much about it.
    Why don’t we ‘borrow it’ for the ride up to Houck Stadium? We can return it to the same spot when we get home… no harm… no foul! We all looked at each other and agreed it was a good plan.

    Mike rode me up to Franklin to ‘borrow’ the beautiful bike; we sailed down Louisiana, crossed Broadway, and turned East into our great Saturday adventure. We had heard from the “older boys” that the only way to anonymously access the heralded stadium was by crawling under the chicken wire fence,and sliding down the steep overgrown hillside adjoining Kent Library. We would park our bikes at the top of the high hill next to the fence.

    Everything went smoothly and like clock work as 6 or 7 excited boys cut through Capaha Park and peddled up Normal Street careful to stay on the sidewalks. We dismounted and pushed our bikes up the steep hill in front of the college and turned down the circle drive the wound behind Kent library.

    Something was going on at the college, or possible at Meyers or Dearmont dorms, because the line of cars was bumper-to-bumper moving very slowly all around the back library. So we again dismounted and were walking the bikes single file past and beside the line of cars. Our line of bikes & boys occasionally stopping to allow students to cross the road in-between the cars.

    Directly in front of Dearmont Dorm I found myself stopped next to, and within inches of, a late model sedan with a well dressed man and woman in it. The windows were down on this beautiful Fall afternoon and I could hear the couple talking quietly to each other. The nice lady turned to look at me and smiled, and I smiled back. And why not smile… I was on top of the world. We were on a great adventure, far from home, and for once, I was high styling – pushing this “brand spankin’ new “26-inch from Monkey Wards Huffy bike that was dark red with cream-colored stripes”!

    Then suddenly the nice lady’s expression turned from a smile to a very dark look of alarm and concern. Little did I know then that my life was getting ready to change dramatically and for the rest of my life. Writing these words on my laptop 55+ years later… the anguish, embarrassment and unmitigated fear – comes over me like that moment had been only yesterday.

    The nice lady turned a said in a loud voice to the nice man, “Hey Hon, isn’t that Terry’s stolen bike?” He leaned over to take a better look and said, “yes, I think it is… or one identical to it!” And they both looked at me expectantly… waiting for a comment from the kid with the bulging eyes.

    The next thing I remember is mounting the bike on a dead run – like I had seen Roy Rodgers do to Trigger that very morning on TV – and peddling, like my life depended on it, speeding past the inching cars with big college students – in fear of their lives – jumping out of my way. As I quickly approached the end of the circle drive that overlooked the stadium, I dismounted a flying “Trigger” as flawlessly as I had mounted him. I went into a slide like a close play at second base, and Trigger bounced off the loosely strung chicken wire fence. Sliding under the fence with only minor scratches and scrapes on my arms, I bound down the sheer hillside sliding, bouncing, and finally tumbling head over heels onto the chat and gravel that surrounded the running track at the bottom. (Years later, I recall having a flash back to this moment as I watched Michael Douglas’ now famous tumble onto the lap of Kathleen Turner in the 1984 movie ‘Romancing The Stone’) Coming up into a flawless running start I raced across the plush grass End Zone and up the concrete steps to the side gate. I remember thanking all things holy that the gate was open and not padlocked as was usually the case.

    I really don’t recall the run home, just that the I was dripping in sweat and the “stitches” in my sides were excruciating as I burst through the Brune Orange front door 1435 Luce street. I bound up the steps two and three at a time to the second floor… into Charles’ & Louise’s room… and crawled under the big “double bed”. There I stayed for the next two to three hours… listening for the dreaded sounds of screeching tires and police sirens… but hearing nothing but my bated breath, and Mom’s grandmother’s antique mantle clock chiming on the hour and half hour.

    As perfect as my memories of that stressful day – I don’t recall how I finally found out that the “dreaded Monkey Wards bike” belonged to my friend Terry Hopkins (later termed Magnum P.U.Hopkins for his 30 year over use of the Hawaiian Shirt craze in the 1980s.), or that those two nice adults in the late model limousine were his parents, or how and when he finally got his bike back. I think the consensus at Franklin was that some “miscreants or who we termed – hoods” from the May Green School probably took it.

    All I know is that terrible experience “Scared me onto the straight and narrow” path, and helped make me the law abiding citizen, friend, son, father, and grandfather that I am to this day. My only mistake is confessing my past indiscretion to T.H. during a “senior moment”.

    As usual… this entire story is based on my suspect and failing memory …. and I could be wrong.

  4. Confession is good for the soul, and this probably explains why you are the way you are today
    I did not mention the year of the quaterbacks or any other dates to protect the guilty. In fact, I know several quaterbacks from Pro to …well you guys.
    It was the “Monkey Wards bike” that was stolen. I was trying to cover your actions in this sordid event, so I changed the bike in MY story. But now it out in the open so I will correct my story. It was the Monkey Wards bike that was stolen when I was in the fourth grade. There I said it!
    My Parents never told me the whole story, so I really did not know it was you until I was in 20’s or so.

    A couple of corrections, Tom Selleck wore Hawaiian Shirts only after seeing the red one I was wearing way back in the 70’s, when I was on the west coast visiting family friend Milton Katselas. Look it up…google, if you must.
    We had a 1959 Chevy Bel Aire 4 door sedan, white six cylinder, 2 speed powerglide not a limo.
    I could go on for for several days on the corrections in your recalling of this event, but dinner calls. Besides, I like you story better than mine anyway.

  5. Friese thinks you got some “SPLAININ TO DO” Magnum P.U. Hopkins.

    Other comments I received:

    Mike Friese ;

    Hi Brad.

    Thanks for sharing this story. I got a lot of laughs from it. My experience of progressing from a 20″ to larger bikes you “could grow into” was a lot like Terry’s, except I can’t remember any of mine being stolen. Since I lived on the hill on Anna St I usually had to push each new, bigger bike up the hill to get home until I got big enough to ride it up.

    I think Terry has some more “Splainin to do” on his end of the story. How is it that he apparently left his new bike at Franklin for a whole week while telling his parents it was stolen? Was it lost or did someone else steal it first? Did he even look for it? And after this first episode, how could he have been so careless as to let it be stolen again? And if this all happened in September ’58, how did the Hopkins’ have a 1959 Chevy Bel Aire? The whole thing sounds fishy to me. I suspect that you may have been the unwitting victim of a clever case of entrapment.

    Your story also brought back a lot of memories for me. I suppose my family moved onto Anna St about the same time you moved onto Luce, just in time for us to start Kindergarten in Spring of ’53. Just like you, I spent countless hours over in Capaha Park playing indian ball or cork ball, fishing in the lagoon, ice skating on the lagoon in winter, swimming at the pool, etc. I was usually with my Brother and Bill & Bob Bishop. We had a lot of good times and a few minor fights along the way.

    Take care and keep me on your message list.

    Mike Friese

    On Dec 27, 2013, at 11:33 AM, Linda wrote:

    Brad OMG,
    I am laughing so hard! My husband came into the room to see what’s up. I told him, “Even if I read it to you, you wouldn’t find it as funny as I do. This is Cape Girardeau in the ’50s and ’60s. Bobby’s crazy teenage car stories are from Longview, TX. Different, but the same.

    Thanks for sharing. You made my day.
    L, L–

    Sent from iPad
    Linda Stone Schrimsher,

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