Brian’s Column: Speaking of “A Christmas Story”…

2: Previous column, “To  Change a Tire,” unleashes a golden memory or three
Brian R. Wright

[Link to Episode 1]

Note: These columns are a series, I will make into a volume of my memoirs. You may follow the links at top and bottom of page to go to preceding or succeeding episodes. The series starts here. {If the [Link to Episode <next>] at the  bottom of the column does not show an active hyperlink, then the <next> column has yet to be written.}

In that column, I was referring to a rite of passage from boyhood into teenhood, which was the simple act of learning to successfully change out a flat tire on the family car. And I pointed to the scene in A Christmas Story, where Ralphie Parker goes to help his dad to do just that… having a slight misadventure in the process. 🙂 The movie and that funny little sequence conjure up a remembrance of my own nuclear family life in middle America, and one of my very first images…

… where my little brother Forrest, the would- be passenger in the photo right, tries to turn his tricycle into an airplane! It was 1951, or thereabouts. The Wrights had just rented a small flat in Kansas City, as we waited for our home to be built ‘out in the country’ of suburban Overland Park. Dad had been promoted to a sales job for paper products of the Kalamazoo Vegetable Parchment (KVP) company, for whom he had worked since coming back from the service (WW2) then graduating from Western Michigan University (go Broncos!).

It occurs to me now that we were well off enough to be able to afford to give both Forrest and me fairly new and modestly appointed tricycles at a young age. [My parents, as many of the aspiring middle class of those days, were Sears & Roebuck mail order fans. Sears typically had three models of everything, from wagons to lawn mowers: 3) the cheap, economy version, 2) the reasonably priced, higher quality, middle of the road option, and 1) the highest priced, bordering on bragging rights, top of the line Sears product. Mom and Dad always bought the #2 model.] On this fateful night I was about 3 1/2 and Bro had just turned 2. Continue reading