Oh, yeah, young Jimmy really did this at 9 years old on his sister’s bike.
Jim and his brother Bob worked on all the particulars that would be needed to succeed with the plan; including planning the route with maps of Massillon and Canton Ohio. Jim’s bike was not in good enough shapes, so he needed to borrow his sister’s bike and I can’t remember what excuse they gave as to why Jim needed to borrow his sister Anne’s bike for that journey, but they did in fact borrow it and Jim made the trek on a girl’s bike. They also had to figure out the timing as well.
Of course, being only 9 and 11 respectively, the boys didn’t think about the fact that cousin David might just have a life and might be out and about that day.
But with his brother’s help in planning, and riding his sister’s bike (she did not know what it was for), Jim was off and running, errr, biking his way to Cousin David’s house.
The first issue was that they didn’t realize that 13th Street did not go straight through between Massillon and Canton. It actually disappeared at least once and maybe twice during the trip so Jim had to improvise and re-route on the fly to make sure all went well.
He got to Aunt Gladys and Uncle Frank’s house (where Cousin David lived), and David was of course not there. He was old enough that he actually had a date that day. In addition, little Jimmy scared his Aunt Gladys and of course, she felt compelled to call Jim’s Mom, Marie (Aunt Gladys’ sister) to determine the best course of action. Since he had made it all the way there, Aunt Gladys invited Jim to dinner and when Cousin David came in he did get to ask him his science related questions. He also got to see David’s very cool ‘lab’ that he had at the time and some very cool stuff Dave was working on.
After all was said and done, Jim was then hustled into the Markley family vehicle and he was then taken back to Massillon to be handed over to his mother for whatever punishment Mom felt was appropriate. Well, after scaring his mother now that his visit with the Markley’s was now over, there would be consequences.
For a child of 9 … even with the map help from his brother Bob … to see what the best path to Canton would be (unfortunately they had only maps of Massillon and Canton proper, not the distance between Massillon and Canton on 13th Street) Personally, I found it amazing for Jim to have planned this trip to Canton, 10 miles away at the age of 9 yrs old, even with his older brother’s help.
NOTE: An addition from Jim’s cousin Frank from an email today (1/11/2015):
Your Friday post on Jim’s trip from Massillon to Canton seemed quite accurate in the details. That’s really a healthy stretch for anyone to ride, especially a boy of nine, and you were right about the disjointed, convoluted route to our house on 13th Street. I remember that day, and we’ve talked about it in our family every once in a while. I believe Dave and I had summer marching band practice that day. I wasn’t aware until now of Bob’s part in the scheme.