Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Year in Illinois - Part IV

Today is the fourth and final part of Larry's description of  living in Chicago, between April 1, 1969 and March 30, 1970. Please enjoy Part 4 of his walk down Memory Lane.

A Horse is a Horse
With all my overtime, and the extra pay from my second job helping our neighbor, Bob Wilson, apply wood siding to houses, plus the reduced rent of the one-bedroom Chicago apartment, Lorna and I had a little extra money.

Denise Wilson, Kim’s friend from downstairs, had a Wonder Horse, the kind mounted on springs which bounced up and down when ridden. Kim loved it. Since we were feeling a little guilty about dragging our daughter away from her grandparents, we decided she deserved a horse of her own.

In July, with money in hand, we headed for the local toy store. Here, ten or twelve models in various sizes lined one wall. Kim immediately headed for the biggest one. It was made for a four-to-six-year old child. Kim had just turned two and was small for her age. Her head barely reach the level of the foot peg of her chosen steed. Lorna tried to persuade her to pick one more her size, but to no avail.

I said to Lorna, “If she can climb on the horse all by herself, it’s the one we buy.”

Kim, having practiced on Denise’s medium-sized horse, clambered up a support rail, balanced on one of the springs, threw a leg over the saddle, and pulled herself into position. We took it home.

Later, we were very happy to have gotten the biggest one. For her birthday in August, Kim received a cowgirl outfit from her godparents. Boots, hat, fringed skirt, and shirt.

In full western gear, Kim spent hours riding. She jumped so hard the horse bounced totally off the floor and moved across the room. She literally rode through the apartment. (We sometimes worried about the noise for our neighbors downstairs, but they worked during the day and never complained.)

Kim enjoyed her horse for several years until she outgrew it. We replaced dowels, screws and other parts as they broke or wore out. Eventually, the horse was passed on to a younger neighbor friend in Arcadia.

From there, it moved on to a cousin and, for all we know, it may still be out there entertaining other children.

Kim now lives in Texas and still loves both western garb and horses.

Each year she returns during the holidays, but our cowgirl’s heart feels right at home in her adopted state.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks. Kim adored her horse. I don't know how I would have survived there without it!

  2. Our oldest son had one of those horses and Tom was always replacing parts and fixing the steed for its next rough ride. The best memory is of him riding back and forth and singing the theme song of "Star Wars"! I would have loved having one of these horses growing up.

    1. Kim's was a godsend. She used to ride it each morning while watching 'Sesame Street."