Just Creative Writing

Memories 1.0

Memories tend to snap to life when I least expect them, and that happened to me today.

I was leaving the grocery store when a gaggle of about 2 dozen motorcycles raced past me, making me wonder if there was an event somewhere. As my mind is wont to do, I recalled my experiences riding on motorcycles...not in the front but in the back. And my memory snapped me back to about 1961 when, at 16, I was working in Cock Robin Ice Cream in Berwyn Illinois. It was weekend work, and every day a man came in for lunch with his assistant. He owned a painting business. Now, it wasn't him that I smiled at, it was his assistant. We'll call him Bob. I don't remember his name, so Bob will suffice.

Well, after a few trips in and a little flirting, Bob asked me out. He was probably 3 years older than me and I told him he had to meet my parents. (Good Judy!) He agreed. He came to our house, introduced himself to my parents, and all was good. We got in his car, and suddenly were back at his parents house. Hmmmm! He parked his car and we went to his garage where he stored the most beautiful Harley I had ever seen (not that I had seen very many Harleys). He asked me if I wanted to take a ride, and it took me about a nanosecond to vigorously nod my head and say "Yes!!!" (Bad Judy!)

We got on the bike and headed for the Big Boy Drive in. (A side note here for those who don't remember or were not around at the time.... the popular thing in the early '60s was getting in the car and driving from one drive in restaurant to another and another, and then back again. [Every car had a name painted on the fender. My brother's was "PG53" {a story for another time}]. We used to do this for hours. And Big Boy Drive in was the starting point. McDonalds, Big Boy, Skips, Big Boy, McDonalds, Big Boy, Skips...well, you get the idea.) The thing about Big Boy was the large front grassy area where the Chicago Outlaws biker gang would park their bikes, grab something to eat, and sit on the grass...for hours! 

That's where Bob took me. Lots of biker dudes and dudettes and I kind of got lost in the crowd, so did not worry about any friends picking me out. Then along came Jerry (I don't recall his name, so we'll just go with Jerry.) He was big-time Chicago Outlaw, and he asked Bob if he could take me for a little ride. Bob knew Jerry and trusted him (!!!). Bob looked at me with the question...and there was that nanosecond of time again, with my head bobbing up and down. (Bad, bad, Judy!) That was all we needed. Jerry got on his bike, I got on behind him (no helmets in the early 60s!), and off we went. A thrill a nanosecond...well, until Jerry decided to be a smart ass and stood up, mid-speed on Ogden Avenue heading toward Chicago. We were only gone for about 20 minutes and it was a thrill! Came back, parked the bike and I joined the rest of the biker crowd on the grass. 

Then it happened...there was a drug store across the street from Big Boy, and who should pull into the parking lot to get his weekend newspapers? MY FATHER! Fortunately, he did not bother to look across Ogden Avenue (it's a pretty wide, busy street) and I ducked way down in the crowd. It was a thrilling evening for me. Bob and I had a brief romantic fling that summer, then we went our separate ways. (Good Bob, Good Judy!). My parents never knew about this...one of their rules was NO MOTORCYCLES! (Bad Judy!)

I don't often think about my one night as a Chicago Outlaw Dudette, but the memory is fun when it scampers in. I can't recall much about Bob, or Jerry, and now I wonder where they are. In particular, if Jerry is no longer among us, I hope he's in Outlaw heaven, riding his bike!