Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Baby Leif on the Back of my Bicycle

There are so many memories for which we have no photos. While I was riding my bike yesterday, I remembered how, during the 1975-76 school year when Leif was still a baby, I went back to school to try (again) to get my master's degree, this time in Family and Children Development. I hadn't finished my first try, back at the University of Kansas, because when Peter graduated from Law School and went into the army, I went with him, and we were sent to Germany for four years. By the time I came back to the USA, I would have had to retake or validate all my credits, and my interests had changed. The army assured us that we weren't going to move, so I decided to go back to school and try again.

It was't easy going to grad school with a six year-old and a baby, but I was determined. We also had a transportation issue. We only had one car, and Peter needed it to get to work at Fort Riley, so he put a yellow plastic child seat on the back of my blue Schwinn bicycle, and away Leif and I went. It was about 8 blocks from our house to the Child Development Center, the lab school for early childhood studies students at KSU. I was lucky to get a space there for Leif. He loved it! His first experience with a preschool learning environment was while I was in class during that school year.

I have no photos of us on the bike, and no photos of the Child Development Center except for a few B&W photos of Leif, Peter Anthony and Peter Walter at their playground one late afternoon in May 1976, which is when this one of Leif by the sandbox was taken. He looks so tiny! He was little, though always big for his age.

I didn't finish that master's degree either. Despite the army's assurance we wouldn't move for another year, we were transferred to the JAG School in Charlottesville, Virginia that summer.

I don't think I'd have the courage to put a baby on the back of a bike and ride through those streets in Manhattan, Kansas now. They are too crowded and there's too much traffic. I guess I would have had to walk him in a stroller.

At that time, it was fun, and Leif loved it. I think it must have been his first experience of going somewhere on wheels with the wind in his hair. He loved that all his life.

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