thought machine

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01 10 01 (PDT): "rosebud"

I have been asked about the significance of the purple tricycle. The photo to the right (yes, that's me) is the only good color photo of it I've been able to find, though I also saw a rather nice black and white one which I may run sometime. Sadly, the original item itself was long ago donated to the Salvation Army store a few blocks away so that there would be more room in the garage to store boxes of old school papers and caches of boy scout supplies. I am bitter as much at myself as at my mom, because I was around at the time and could have kept it, somewhere, if I'd put any true effort into its defense. Ah, the foolish carelessness of adolescence.

I don't know exactly which Christmas it arrived, but I know it was a Christmas present because one of my earliest memories is standing with my mom, looking through some kind of window at tricycles, and my mom saying, "If Santa were to bring you one of those tricycles, which color would you want: pink, blue, or purple?"

Probably I remember this because of the rush of excitement I felt at that moment: Mama had opened the magic channel to Santa by mentioning his name, and now he was listening to us and might actually bring me one of those beautiful objects. "Purple," I said, without hesitation. I don't know why. I just liked the purple one best. And sure enough, on Christmas morning, there it was in front of the fireplace, sitting on the white shag rug.

It was my first vehicle. I can't have been older than four, and was probably three. It had a little plastic basket on the front, and multicolored tassels streaming from the ends of the handlebars. When my little brother was old enough, he could stand on the rung between the back wheels, hold onto my shoulders, and I could drive both of us around (though not at top speed). Later we got other wheeled playthings, notably a green tractor and his noisy yellow Big Wheel, but even then I would still tool around on the good ol' trike, until I was just too big to ride it.

In this picture we're at the "new" house (the house we grew up in), so I'm at least five, maybe six or seven; my knees are approaching the handlebars. I see that even children did not escape odd wardrobes in the seventies, especially children subject to a mother with a nostalgia for the saddle shoes of her own school days. Youthful ignorance = bliss.

After I outgrew the trike, and moved on to the pink bicycle (also now gone), I didn't think about it much until recently, when I started trying to figure out a good, simple, memorable domain name. An object, perhaps. Something that a person could visualize. And one day, I remembered the purple tricycle. After remembering, I wanted the original back. Time machine! Where's my time machine, to jump back and either shake some spirit into my apathetic teen self, or just go and buy it from the Salvation Army store!

Sadly, impossible. Lost, as are other dear people and places and things, it is gone; we shall not meet again in this world (namarie!). But, in memory of my first vehicle, I gave this new one its name.

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carrie at purpletricycle dot com.