The year was 1972. The place was Clear Lake City, TX. A little thirteen year old white girl who would go onto become my mom accepted a summer job babysitting three rambunctious girls (ages 4,7, and 9) Monday thru Friday from 8 to 5. She took the job with the goal of saving up money for a ten speed bike, whilst the rest her friends (all of whom already owned bikes that their parents bought for them) spent most of the summer lounging at the community pool. Two weeks before school was set to start, she finally had enough money for the bike. Her mom (my grandma) took her to buy the bike, a bright shiny white one. It was her first major purchase with her own hard earned dollars, a proud achievement in the life of a thirteen year old kid. She was so excited to share her bike with the world; little did she realize to what extent she would be sharing that bike with the world. Her mom said, “Okay you can show your friends, but don’t leave it alone until you get a lock.” [She should have bought me a damn lock, my mom grumbles as she recounts this story.] Filled with excitement and happiness, she rode the bike, her glorious new treasure to the community pool where her friends were. She hurried into the pool area, rounded up her friends, “Hey guys, come look at what I got!” When she returned, the bike was gone. Gone in 60 seconds, literally. Her mom drove her all over town looking for it, to no avail. She had nothing to show for all her hard work but tears. And she never saw the bike again.
Sadly, this all too true story serves as somewhat of a metaphor for those working class people who work hard, and yet do not get to reap the fruits of their labors, but instead of bikes being stolen the years, hours, and minutes of their lives are stolen.
Story by my mom
Written by her son Aguilar Elliot