Dad riding his motorcycle, upon returning home from World War II.
My Father’s Love for Motorcycles
By Richard Mabey Jr.
My beloved father came home from the war in 1947, he was 20 years old. There must have been such a grand and glorious feeling that flowed through Dad’s veins. He had come home alive. Dad’s brother, Edward, had come home alive. It must have been a time of inward and outward celebration.
Upon arriving home, Dad landed a good full-time job, driving an 18-wheeler for Moon Carrier Trucking Company. They were located in Paterson, New Jersey. After working for a few months, and earnestly saving his money, my dad went out and bought a motorcycle.
I think that owning and riding a motorcycle was important to my father. My dad had earnestly played a role in rebuilding Hickam Air Field, in his service with the Seventh Army Air Corps. Hickam Air Field had been practically totally destroyed when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. For Hickam Air Field was immediately adjacent to Pearl Harbor.
My dad was truly a most earnest, hard working, practical man. But I think that he needed to have this era in his life, of coming of age, to enjoy some of the fun-loving aspects of life. And, I think that Dad’s motorcycle played a big role in his coming of age.
Dad only had his motorcycle for a short time. For after a couple of years of working at Moon Carrier; Dad, along with his father and his brother Edward, formed Mabey Trucking Company. And, for many years it was a very successful trucking company, located in Paterson, New Jersey. But, in order to have the money to help start up Mabey Trucking Company, Dad sold his motorcycle.
And now fast forward to August of 1992. It’s now over 45 years since the end of World War II. My mom, my dad, my sister Patti and myself all took a vacation to Disney World. They had this little area that they called Paradise Island. It was a place that was filled with shops and restaurants.
I remember this as though it was yesterday, we were walking alongside all of the different shops and restaurants, and low and behold, this one shop has a motorcycle outside its front door. It was obviously a prop and you could have your picture taken while sitting on this stationary motorcycle.
Well, as soon as Dad saw this motorcycle, he quickly walked over to it and got on board. Dad was like a little kid, joking around and kidding about on that old motorcycle. Simply put, Dad was having a blast. Dad was just having the time of his life, pretending to be riding on that old motorcycle. I took a picture of Dad on that motorcycle. I am so glad that I did!
I didn’t realize it at the time, but in the couple of minutes that Dad was sitting on that old motorcycle at Disney World, he was going back in time to when he was all so very young. All so very young and all so carefree. I wish that I knew then, what I know now.
I know one thing for certain, I am so glad that at the age of 64, Dad was able to have even just a couple of minutes to feel like he was 20, once again. In August of 1992, I was 38 years old. I had no idea, at that time, how important those couple of minutes were to my dad. For him to just sit upon that old motorcycle and imagine that he was 20 years old, once again.
At 62, I now know that yearning to go back in time, to be 20 once again; even for just a couple of minutes. I wish that I knew back then, what I know now. I would have had a greater understanding and appreciation for my dad’s imaginary motorcycle ride that he took at Disney World, at the at of 64. I’d give my eyeteeth to relive that moment.