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John W Leko

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Oh Taxi...
By John W Leko
Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Rated "G" by the Author.

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memories are never forgotten...joyous...and painful.

            Thinking back through the seasons…to the fall…when I was a very young boy…it was my birthday.  The day had become evening…and we were…my mom…two sisters…and I…waiting for my father to return home from work…to have dinner in the little kitchen with the red vinyl booth…red laminate top…chrome base table. Two…red vinyl and chrome chairs…were reserved for my mother and father…while my sisters and I were…almost always…cozily seated in the booth.  It was not unusual for a child of the 1950’s…to sit…amongst parent and siblings for dinner…every night…every week…every year…unless there was reason or cause to alter tradition.

            This family ritual…was at times…not on the dot…as my father was a hard working…construction man…in business for himself along with his father…in these years.  Sewers and storm drains…were words most familiar at our dinner table.  And so the hands on the clock...would not always be in the same position…when the food was put upon the table.

            But on this night…it did not matter…for on this night…my birthday…something very special was about to happen.  I was very young then…but this night would remain in my memory forever.  Time seemed to have no relevance…this dinner time…when my father walked into the house…through the back door…and into the small kitchen of our two bedroom…dining and living room…one bath home.  His usual work demeanor…khaki work clothes…dusty…and sometimes mud covered work boots…along with the sunburned face of an eight to twelve hour work day…made the smell of earthen dirt and hard working sweat…familiar to the hugs my mother…sisters and I received.

            In my father’s hand…unusual…was a box…a gift…from my father to me.  If my father had ever brought a gift…he himself had taken a moment to buy…himself…for me…I cannot remember.  It was my mother who usually...and in the years to come…would shop for gifts. 

            I excitedly took this gift from my father’s hands…forgot about the nice wrapping…and with my small hands…made my way to discover the box within and its contents.   Inside of the box…was a car…yellow…a taxicab…a yellow taxicab.  Attached to the car by means of a long wire…at least the wire seemed long to me…at this time…at my age…was a small metal box with a red button…and a small steering wheel.  In these years…I do not remember…nor was I familiar with remote control.  These were still the years…of D cell batteries…batteries and wires.

            I now owned something of power…something given to me by my father…something that only he had chosen…to give to me.  When the red button was pushed the TAXI sign on top of the car would light up and the taxicab would move forward.  When the small steering wheel on the metal box was turned…the car would steer…just like a real one…left to right…right to left…and even make a circular turn.  I was overjoyed…loved my father for this gift…and never forgot it.

            I do not remember if all of us sat down…together…for dinner on this night.  There could have been a birthday cake…but again…nothing else seemed to matter at the moment.

            I do remember another time…a time when my father and mother got into a fight…arguing.  My mother packed a suitcase…grabbed my sisters and I…and called a yellow taxi…to take us to my great Aunt’s house…with tears in her eyes.



© 2007 Copyrights of John W Leko
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Reviewed by Carvin Wallson 7/20/2009
I'm of a younger generation, but also have a vivid memory of my first RC car. While others had those that would zoom yards ahead of them, I walked only a few inches behind mine. I loved my childhood, but toys were never what money was spent on--they were distractions from schoolwork and learning. I grew up being probably the only person in my graduating class to have never cleared the original Mario Brothers. Now that I see those who spent hours on end in front of a TV screen making twice as much as I do, I wonder if my mother's wishes were in the best place. No matter, though, as I am and will always be secure in my knowledge that my days spent buried in Encyclopedia Brown books were well-spent.
Reviewed by Gwendolyn Thomas Gath 5/14/2008

John this was a most special story thoroughly enjoyable, I appreciate reading this. Knowing this memory is very close to your heart and it was a magnificent sharing although a shadow of sadness in the conclusion.

Sending prayers and blessings to you John,

Reviewed by C. Edgar Nolan 5/8/2008
Memories of youth... gifts, tears, taxis
Nice write.
Reviewed by Bernice Lakota 3/25/2008
Bitter-sweet memories of a yellow taxicab that meant the world to a young boy. Very touching story...your father did a great thing that day, he left you a gift that will last forever in your memory.
Reviewed by Charlie 3/23/2008
Great juxtaposing parallelism at the end. I too remember times when my father went out of his way for (just) me... things like that are pretty ...well... sacred. This is an important write-- one to pass on down the generations in a biography of your own. --Charlie
Reviewed by Leann Marshall 3/11/2008
These memories are so dear, and I can see the little yellow taxi in my head. Toys were simpler then, but we got so much pleasure out of them, didn't we? All of it, good and bad, are a part of us, to be sure. Thanks for sharing your memories.
Reviewed by Michael Guy 3/9/2008
touching twist to end your story of another yellow taxi... and in your usual or unusual "ampersand style"... I too had a lower, middle class upbringing in a small 1950's salt box cape-cod style house. Most of gift were almost always bought by Mom also. But once my Dad (an ex WW2 fighter pilot) bought me my first gas powered model plane and we flew it togetherin a vacant lot. I remember it fondly as well.
Great family, nostaglia human-interest story. Good for the aging boomers to read!
Reviewed by Cleve Sylcox 3/8/2008
Your discriptions and remembrences brought tears to my eyes...nice job!
Reviewed by Katie Gabrielle 2/29/2008
This story brought tears to my is so touching. It means
so much to have a family together at dinner time. It may seem such
a little thing, but it makes a memory--an impression on a young
boy. I am glad your Dad gave you the taxi...especially a powered
one with a remote control. I can remember my very first walking doll--my aunt gave it to me...I loved her for that! I never had any toy
with power either...I never forgot that toy or her for that...

anyway, the last part of your story really got to me...and how
ironic to be put in the same kind of taxi to be spared a domestic
quarrel. Yes, they say whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger,
but try explaining that to a kid who only wants his family to stay
together...yeah right... Bless you and your write wonderfully!

Thanks so much for sharing your story

katie :)
Reviewed by Anita Sie 2/27/2008
Childhood memories... when they are nice... they are really nice!
Reviewed by David Thompson 2/23/2008

Your writing style is very interesting and easy to follow. I could connect with this story quite well. I, too, have one vivid birthday from my childhood. There was only one cake that I of the shape of a lamb. I was so enthralled with the cake that I wouldn't let anyone cut it. As a result, it eventually dried up to the point that no one could eat it. Gee, that was a long time ago...probably in the late 1940s...but the memory is if it were only yesterday.

Reviewed by Jackie (Micke) Jinks 2/21/2008
Oh, that only the first remembrance of Yellow Taxi could be sustained in your thoughts. But the most powerful seems to be the wonderful gift! That's good...

Reviewed by MaryGrace Patterson 2/21/2008
A nice story about a special moment in your childhood. Those were the days to grow up!.. It seems lif was easier , traditions more valued. Thanks for sharing....M
Reviewed by Jayne Waggoner 2/20/2008
nicely done and a grand story. I only remember getting a stuff poodle dog one time. Nagged my parents into it. Great job John.
Reviewed by Olita Williams 2/19/2008
This is so emotive. Takes me back as well to sitting around a family table and having meals together, There was mum and Dad and 8 children. Well done John and excellent piece!
Reviewed by Theresa Koch 1/29/2008
My this was wonderful~`*
Reviewed by Regis Auffray 8/23/2007
A most engaging story, John. Thank you for sharing it. Love and peace to you,

Reviewed by Georg Mateos 8/23/2007
A great short story, with humanity and that innocent naïveté of a little boy looking at the box in the hands of his father.
After, life shocked him into the real world, where Easter bunny never went prancing on the lawn.
Reviewed by Nancy Meeks 8/22/2007
Hi John,
This is absolutely GREAT!!! As usual, I was glued to what I was reading anxiously waiting for the next line! I love the way you describe the details of the car, the D cell batteries and wires, also the layout of the home and what your dining room furniture looked like (retro LOL) which are so important for the younger readers born in the 60's and so forth. Your story allows people to CONNECT with you and that you are REAL and not just an elusive author on a web site. By the way there were a time or two that my Mother also packed that "same" suitcase due to an argument...I remember it well.
Nancy Meeks

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