Nor anyone else we knew.
Speaking of oldtime Burbank, a kid named Larry Leib once called us a “pussy” back in the sixth grade because we insisted on stopping by the Central Branch to report our library card getting lost down at Weinerschnitzel.
From that alternate reality Burbank…
FLASHBACK FRIDAY: I Want to Ride My Bicycle Burbank Style
By Burbankia Mike On May 18, 2018
I remember one of the most stressful times of my young life was to go to the bicycle rider training and having my bicycle safety checked at the Fire Station Headquarters on Olive Avenue.
Questions popped into my mind like what if I fail the training? does my bike have what it takes to be safe and earn my Burbank bike registration sticker?
Like who cared about that. We were always creeped out by that odd Burbank preoccupation back then with organized activities and adult leadership.
My brand new Schwinn Tiger was the pride of my young life. It was candy apple red with white pin striping and the envy of my kid friends in the neighborhood.
In our world it was Continental or Varsity. The Sears bikes had already fallen apart.
Anyone ever heard Jerry Seinfeld’s great story about how his father got him one of the first Stingrays in the neighborhood?
But what if I did not pass, and did not get my sticker? I could no longer ride!! The Horror!
This gripped my young mind as we went to Olive Rec for the parking lot test track made of chalk in the parking lot. You may have well guessed that this was less of a big deal than I had built it up in my mind.
The instructor read to us about what we were going to be doing, staying between the lines, making turns in the lines, stopping inside the lines and not falling down! I passed and then we headed back up Olive to the Fire station that was just below Glenoaks.
There my bike was put through its paces and a rigorous visual inspection. The Fireman performing this inspection pronounced my bike safe and awarded it the coveted Burbank Bicycle Safety Sticker which he placed on the seat column support near the bottom about 6 inches above the pedals.
I was so proud! I passed and so did my Bike!
Our Burbank could have cared less. This must have been a Flatland thing — even as five-year-olds we knew there was something creepy and contrived about all of those organized kids’ happenings down at Olive Rec or McCambridge. Neighbor parents would always have to drag us kicking and screaming to some songster or finger-painting class down there.
But a nasty segment of Burbank has always had an oddball preoccupation for teams and group activities and adult supervision, and they’re usually the ones who are in charge.
Speaking of Olive Rec, it turns out Larry had been unjust. About two days after we reported the card as missing, one of the coaches down there called the house to ask what we’d done with their basketball. Seems some big kid had apparently found our card on SF and used it to check one out from their gym.
How diabolical those Flatland kids were back then, yes. But the fact that we’d already officially reported the card as missing got us off the hook. Leib though wasn’t impressed.
We learned two things that summer. Sometimes it pays to be a pussy; and unless you just want to go to the Hobby Shop stay the hell out of the Flatlands. We did learn later on that the pussy was better in the Flatlands, but that’s for another day.