A Slice of Life
When I was 12, I started delivering newspapers, on my bicycle, on an evening route near my home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was saving my money to buy a motorcycle. At the time my allowance of .50 cents a week hardly even covered the cost of my model airplane supplies. And, that paper route really didn’t bring in much of an income either.
So I started thinking of other ways to make money. That was the summer I started mowing lawns in our neighborhood with the family push-mower. That helped a lot in the money department, but was really hard work.
As my name got around, by work of mouth, that I was cutting lawns my business grew and I talked my parents into loaning me the money to buy a new power mower (Ref. Bill’s blogs “I Was A 12 Year Old Business Man“– Jan. 23 & 30, 2013). It took me a while to pay off that loan, but once that was done, the bank account began to grow rapidly.
By the time I was fourteen, I had learned to drive, had my driver’s license, and I was scouring the newspaper “For Sale” ads for used motorcycles. I finally found a fairly nice Harley-Davidson 125cc that I could afford. Boy, did that motorcycle take a lot of the work out of my paper route! I could pick up my papers, deliver all the papers on my route and get home in half the time, and I wasn’t pooped out either.
I gave up the paper route and most of my lawn business when a friend’s father helped me get a part-time job at the local Furr’s Super Market. By that time I had really lost most of what little interest I had in school (my main interest now was motorcycles), and was looking for something to occupy my time (and making money of course). The super market job was just what I was looking for. The work was hard, but the pay was great as I advanced from bag boy to checker, and my bank account kept growing.
As it turned out, once the initial thrill of my “New-Used” motorcycle worn off, I discovered the machine really was a little long in the tooth, and I was anxious to see how I could get more performance out of it. Since I had learned how to rebuild my internal-combustion lawnmower engine, I started tearing down that motorcycle engine.
I cleaned and polished the combustion chamber, re-surfaced the valves & seats, replaced the piston rings and spark plug, tightened the chain and polished all the aluminum cases. By the time I was finished, I had expended a lot of my hard-earned dollars for new parts and many hours of labor on that engine. And guess what? Of course it ran better, but it was still a behind the times 125cc size motorcycle and just didn’t give me the excitement I was looking for.
By this time I had turned into a teenage motorcycle “Jock” and couldn’t look the part (Marlon Brando & James Dean) on that un-interesting looking Harley 125cc motorcycle. So, my next teenage adventure was to purchase a “New” bright RED 1954 Harley Davidson 165cc “Golden Edition” motorcycle with raised handlebars. That motorcycle fit right in with my new image, which included a traditional black leather motorcycle jacket (lots of pockets and zippers), motorcycle boots and a “Ducktail” hairdo.
I enjoyed calling that 1954 Harley 165cc motorcycle my first, but the older ugly black 125cc machine was really my first motorcycle, and helped send me on my way to the big-time 1955 Harley Davidson (888 cc) flat-head KH Sportster that I really loved and drove for the next ten years.