The Photograph: a bike in the 1930s

Pausing mid-pedal, Vince looked down. Something wasn’t right with the chain. He didn’t notice the picture being taken behind him, so wrapped up was he in the workings of the bicycle. Years later, he would look at the photograph in the family album and wonder which one of them had taken it. He couldn’t for the life of him recall.

Gwen, his future wife, and Edna were sitting on the front verandah of the white clapboard house, Gwen sewing, Edna knitting, the two chatting easily as sisters do. They leant a brightness and gaiety to the tableau, with their long, floral printed dresses, simple and handmade, belted tightly at their waists. Merla had disappeared into the house.

Don, George and Phill, dressed casually in suit pants, shirts, suspenders and a mix of sweaters and waistcoats typical of the era, were his audience and assistants as he tested out the bicycle, the right pant leg of his chocolate coloured three-piece suit clipped up, so as not to get grease all over it, his white shirt sleeves rolled out of the way, his jacket discarded. Harry was there too, dressed more casually than the others, as he was wont to do, at times sitting on the verandah steps with his sisters, at other times milling about, making jokes. Gwen and Edna were laughing at his latest off-hand comment, watching Vince and the boys, their fondness shining through their laughter.

The Studebaker sat in the driveway, the driver’s door still yawning open, abandoned hastily in favour of diagnosing the problem with the bicycle.

Determining that it was indeed something to do with the chain, which urgently needed attention, he dismounted, pushed the black bicycle the rest of the way up the walkway and carefully turned the offending vehicle upside down to balance it between its seat and raised chrome handlebars, ensuring the black basket attached at the front did not get bent.

The boys crowded around, offering advice, ideas and suggestions. Again, someone took a photograph. It had at some time joined the other in the family album.

Finally, the chain was fixed and he wheeled the bicycle out onto the road, mounted it and carefully tested it out, riding up and down the street a few times before speeding up. He smiled, shouted something to those watching from house number 154, and passed by one last time in a blur of glee as the final photograph was taken. Then he disappeared around the corner at the end of the block.

A sunny summer moment in time.

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3 thoughts on “The Photograph: a bike in the 1930s

  1. Wow good images re bicycle and the rider maybe a little more description of the rider/ dress and costumes of the viewers/ description of viewers as well: expressions. Could be a good short story

    Sent from my iPhone

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