Little Red Stories

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About 30 years ago, my wife, Kay, asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I told her I wanted a wagon. Specifically, a Radio Flyer. It was a strange request for a young dad and she was puzzled, so I explained. At that time we had one child, Ben. My plan was that every year, beginning with that year, on my birthday, I would skip work and take our kids to the zoo. I felt a wagon would be the best way for me to cart the kids around. So, she got me a Radio Flyer. Over the next few years, Kay and I added two more children to our family, Marji and Patrick, and for several years I spent my birthdays pulling them around the zoo in my red wagon. As the kids got older, and too big for the wagon, we still went to the zoo on my birthday only now it served as a means of transporting a cooler and picnic supplies from the car to the picnic tables. During those same years, my wagon and I pulled the kids on walks around town and to the annual Memorial Day parade where it doubled as a bench for the kids to sit in. It served me well for many years in its child transport capacity. Alas, the children grew up and the wagon took on a new job…hauling things around the yard. It was used for moving dirt, gravel, weeds and grass clippings. It transported flats of flowers and mulch. Right now it’s parked in the corner of the shed with some miscellaneous stuff sitting on it. It’s been there for a couple of years now. All dirty with some rust, dents, and dings. I would never scrap my Radio Flyer, but I had thought a few times of dropping it off at the local thrift store, thinking perhaps another family could use it. I just couldn’t get rid of it though. Right now, I’m glad I kept it. You see, recently, Ben and Jackie, our daughter-in-law, welcomed their absolutely beautiful daughter, Wynn, to the world! The joy, excitement, jubilation, and love I feel for my granddaughter is unbelievable! She is absolutely adorable and precious! Now, just as soon as this snow melts, I’ll be out to the shed to get my neglected Radio Flyer. It’s going to need some work, but it’ll be a good restoration project for me. There are still a lot of miles left in both of us to pull my granddaughter, and future grandchildren, around town! So, come on wagon, my old friend, let’s get you ready to go to the zoo!
Connecting GenerationsBy: Bret C.
Like many other kids growing up, our family had a Radio Flyer wagon. I was one of four kids in our family and probably remember the most about our adventures with the wagon. I remember getting it for Christmas when I was only seven or eight, at the time my youngest sibling was just born. We would bring this wagon all over the neighborhood and play with the other kids, some kids had their own wagons as well and this is what led us to probably the greatest adventure with our wagons. The street I lived on was long, straight, and steep with a sharp 90 degree turn at the end leading further down the next block. We would go to the top of the street and get in one or two at a time,sometimes three if we had a smaller kid, and start down the hill. In no time at all we were moving at full speed toward the bottom. As we got close to the turn we had to get the wagon lined up with the curb on the inside of the start of the turn so when we made the turn two things did not happen, we did not flip, or we did not take the turn too wide and end up in the pricker and thorn bushes on the other side. Now I will say that the street always had cars parked on it at points on both side of the street so steering the wagon and getting the turn right was a bit tricky at times resulting in many flip overs and lots of thorns being pulled out of our bodies, but if we made the turn we got to enjoy the longer ride down the next block. I lived at the bottom of the hill and our front yard was up from the street so if we got near the corner and a car was coming up the hill we would ditch up our front lawn by just steering up with the wagon, worst part of that was we would not get to the turn and have to start over again with the long walk up the hill. After some time, our wagon had its rear wheel assembly break apart while coming down the hill, after we crashed and cleaned the pebbles out of our knees and hands, we picked up the pieces and brought them home. When my Dad got home from work we told him what happened, we were all very sad since we thought the wagon would have to get thrown out, but little did we know, my dad took it to one of his friends and welded new supports on both the front and rear as well as added some new support steel under the wagon so it would be good and strong. When my Dad showed us the stronger version of the wagon we were so excited to start racing again. We asked if we could paint the wagon so my Dad got us paint from the hardware store and some brushes. We painted the wagon body red with aluminum colored wheels and black for the supporting steel. It looked to us like a work of art. Our wagon allowed us to have many more adventures in its time, it would be a dollhouse on wheels for my two sisters, a toy transport to the neighbors houses, would help my dad by bringing branches and leaves out to the street for the town to come pick up, would help to bring firewood in during the winter ( although I later realized that that was just to keep us busy since hauling firewood in the snow was a bit impractical). We would catch frogs and make the wagon a habitat for them. When I was ten I wanted a bike so I had to save money for it. One of the things I did to help save money was to collect aluminum and turn that in for money and I used the wagon to do it. I would go and knock on the neighbors doors and ask that they save any aluminum they had and each week would go and collect it. I live in New York and at that time there was no deposit on aluminum cans so that was mostly what I collected. My Dad saw that I was working hard but the wagon did not hold much so he built me a removable sidewall system for the wagon so I could hold more. We would take the bags of aluminum to the metal yard several times a year and eventually between the aluminum collecting and the other jobs a did around the neighborhood I was able to buy my fist bike. We had such a great time as kids and my siblings and I look back with great memories of our youth, the little red Radio Flyer was a great part of that. I do not live to far from where I grew up so I am able to show my kids where that was, and tell them how we grew up, and some of the adventures we had. I have three kids and they have there own Radio Flyer products, including two red wagons, so I get to watch them in their own adventures and I hear about what they did with their friends that day. Thank you for this chance to share my story with your company.
DadBy: Kevin G.

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