I was about five or six years old when we started saving the caps off of milk bottles. I don’t know whose idea this was…and I am not sure if I even realized that we were saving bottle caps for a reason.
But finally, the day arrived when we were to go downtown to the Burford Theatre. I knew that that was the special day for the guys from the milk company to draw bottle caps out of a container. I assume that all of that was carefully explained to me, but that happens to be another blank in my memory.
We sat through whatever movie was happening on the screen. Then the guys from our milk company turned on the lights and began to talk. I have no memory of what they talked about, but I am sure it all had to do with the milk they provided for all of the families. Then they began to pull names from their enormous pile of children’s names that were in their container.
I don’t remember how many names they hollered out, but it obviously was a big deal…lots of hollering and congratulations. Every name they called out belonged to some young boy and his family who was in the crowded theatre. Each name they hollered a young boy went merrily up to the stage to receive his bike.
Finally, they said they had one more bike to give away. And then … they called my name. I nearly fell over … but managed to get up out of my seat and walk down the aisle to the stage. The men congratulated me and handed me a red patterned small
boy’s bike. I said, “thank you” and wheel the bike up the theatre aisle.
My Dad joins me, and we walk home pushing the bike. We live two and a half blocks from the Burford Theatre so it doesn’t take us long to get home and show my Mother my prize. Then we spend a bit of time at home with my Dad pushing me on the bike. I learn to operate that bike pretty quick and I am forever excited about that bike. I was the only girl in town to win a bike in this process. So I am more than ready to tell all my friends that I won the only bike that was given to a girl.
Finally I am ready to ride a bigger bike…so my parents bought me a larger bicycle. That was great, but I never had such swollen pride in any other bike as I did have pride every time I rode that first, “I won it” bicycle.