Bikes Of Yore – Janice Wald

It’s Janice’s birthday today … 21 today I think she said …

I’m a bit behind at the moment, and she’s been waiting patiently for me to publish her guest post 🙂

This is the final round of guest posts in my Team Charisma World People series.

Janice writes a blog which I’ve had some interesting reads off of, and she’s been a persistent commenter here at So I’m very pleased to have Janice as a guest blogger. Bloggers helping each other 🙂

I really enjoyed this piece of writing, Janice, because it’s so authentic and you really have embraced the idea I gave to you AND YOU ADDED TO IT AND MADE IT YOUR OWN. 10/10

What it’s about :

Topic : Family (and bicycles !)
Title : “Bikes Of Yore”
Type : Solo creative writing inspired by Don Charisma’s photography
Guidance : The criteria I relaxed a little this time, because, this year my time is tied up more than I’d like. The instruction was to pick a photo of mine and write about it. So, solo “unaided” creative writing.

So without further ado, I give you Janice’s guest post :

“Bikes Of Yore” by Janice Wald

A bicycle has the capability to take us places. My bicycle has carried me many places through my teenage and adult years, two-thirds of my life. My old, red bicycle has transported me physically as well as emotionally. Looking at Don Charisma’s poignant photo, Bikes of Yore, those journeys come rushing back to me.

There is a contrast in the photo. The photo conveys a mood of sadness, loneliness, abandonment. Yet, the bright colors on the bike speak volumes. What the bike is saying is loud and clear, “I once had a happy, colorful, vibrant life.” Those moods convey the two types of journeys my red bicycle has taken me on.

I was a latchkey kid. My parents were divorced, and my overworked mother returned home late exhausted and irritable. Breakfast consisted of pop tarts while dinner was cold fast food she brought home with her each night.

My afternoons waiting for her consisted of boredom so great I found a new hobby: brownie baking. With no one there to share the brownies with, I ate them all. They were delicious, and eating was something to do to pass the time. My self-esteem rose as my waist line expanded.

My mother, who valued outer beauty, was irate. I didn’t have a job, so I had no money of my own to buy more health-conscious food.

But, there was one thing I did have—a shiny red bicycle. Not being athletic, I never rode it. I started now. Instead of baking, I rode every afternoon all over West Los Angeles where I grew up. A chunky girl on a bike with the wind in my hair might have made an odd figure, but I didn’t care. I loved bike riding, and as the pounds came off, I vowed to share that love with my children one day.

Fate had other plans. My then-husband and I bought a beautiful home located on a steep hill. As a result, our daughter never learned to ride a bicycle.

We had a difficult marriage which was not to endure. However, the one day I was able to convince him to come with me to the bike trails to take our daughter bike riding was one of the happy memories I have of our marriage. Of course, my red bicycle, not quite so shiny anymore, came with me.

My daughter’s bike-riding experience was an isolated incident. My marriage ended, and I didn’t know how to transport bicycles by myself to the park.

As she approached college age, she confessed the need to learn to ride a bike, so she could navigate around her future college campus.

I did research and found a park about half an hour away which offers bike rentals.

I fondly remembered my late father teaching me to ride next to grass in case I fell, and I taught my daughter the same way.

Today, she and I go regularly to the park. We blast the music on our electronic devices and sing as we ride side by side.

Now that she is older, she talks about bringing her boyfriend and other friends with her. I know that I will be with her in spirit when she does—just like my now old, red bicycle is with me in spirit even when I’m on a rental.

The photo of the bicycle in Don’s picture reminds me of the character Grizabella from the Broadway musical Cats. Grizabella used to be a glamour cat. The play occurs when she is at the end of her life. Due to her aging, disheveled appearance, the other characters shun her. She sings the play’s famous song “Memory” about her happy days in the sun. The bicycle, without words, but with brilliant colors, conveys its happier days in the sun.

At the end of the play, the character is lifted up. Will the cat go to heaven? No, because cats, they say, have nine lives. Don asks if the bike will go to heaven. Disney says, All dogs go to heaven; do bikes?

I don’t know if they do, and I’ll tell you why not. My old, no-longer-shiny, now rusted, red bike is still with me. It is a tangible, symbolic reminder of my life. Even during disappointing times I had my happy “days in the sun”. My bicycle gave me that joy. How many people can touch their memories? I can–every time I touch my red bike.

I’d like to thank Don Charisma for hosting me. Come visit me where I blog at :

Janice Wald – Reflections, My Current New Blog

Thanks Janice, for sharing and you’re very welcome, a privilege for me to feature your writing. I like the way that all my photos have the capacity to touch people, I mean even the photos that aren’t pretty sunsets or flowers … feels like someone “gets me” when that happens 🙂

Don Charisma

(ERRORS AND OMISSIONS EXCEPTED … Stock photos courtesy of Pixabay. Graphic designs and other photos (c) 2014, all rights reserved)

Comments are invited

Don Charisma Warning Improvised Writing

Comments are often welcomed, provided you can string a legible, relevant and polite sentence together. In other cases probably best shared with your therapist, or kept to yourself.

12 thoughts on “Bikes Of Yore – Janice Wald

  1. Wonderful to read and lovely sentiment – brought back MY memories of my bike riding times as a kiddo…skidding off it and ALL. Thanks for the lovely write and also to Don for the gorgeous photo

    1. Hi,
      I was so touched by your detailed analysis of my story. I really felt you “got me.” Thank you for reading it, and taking your time to analyze it.

      1. Hi Janice,
        I think you replied to the wrong person here! There is a wonderful comment below mine that is most beautifully detailed and captures your write superbly. And if it is they whom you have in mind then they did not get your reply! Which makes me sad – I hate missed connections 😉

  2. Constructively I’d like to mention that reading the intro I could here Janice pausing, almost as if she was unsure about where to go with the picture you’d given. I am so glad she found the perfect anecdote to follow. It shares and says so much but without overworking the messages.
    The way the bike helped growing up and how it strengthens the bond with her daughter- I can relate. Living in Scotland with it’s steep gradients meant cycling was for braver kids than myself. My mother and I hiked instead, and sang as we went. Now we play music singing along loudly for green, craggy mountainsides to hear. It’s these shared moments that you can’t always create, but that parents really benefit from when raising their kids. It’s a tough job and stuff like that bring joy into the experience.

    1. Hi Oreoanonymous,
      I tried to write you yesterday, but for several reasons, it didn’t work out, so here I am today.
      I wanted to thank you so much for your detailed, thoughtful comment on my bicycle story.
      Don had several photos to choose from, but as soon as I saw “Bikes of Yore,” there was no decision. I knew I would write about my red bicycle.
      Reliving so many of those memories, especially the part about my daughter, a new generation, loving bike riding because of my influence on her, made me feel vulnerable, raw, because that was the happy part of the story.
      I felt like you got that–like you got me– from my writing. You made me feel like I can convey what I an about, who I am, through my writing.
      Don’s decision to let me guest post made me feel excited. Your response to my post made me feel understood. Thank you so very much for writing this.

  3. I would like to think Don Charisma for hosting my writing. Don, I hope your readers enjoy reading my guest post and the memories your bicycle photo brought back for me. Thank you again for hosting my writing.

    1. Thank you so very much. Those were memories I had not relived in a very long time. Don’s photo brought them out in me. Thank you for your interest in what I wrote. Nice meeting you.

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