Bicycles and Ted

Becky worked the night shift at a photo lab and rode her Schwinn to work, down Glebe Road hill into Arlandria, along U.S. 1, up onto the bridge over the railroad tracks, and into Alexandria. After work, she rode the bicycle back up Glebe Road hill, then to school over on Culpeper Street in North Arlington.

bicycle christmasWhen the Schwinn needed repair, Becky sought advice at Sports and Cycles, a bicycle shop located at what was then Clarendon Circle in North Arlington. She made friends with one of the mechanics, a skinny kid named Ted, and brought him home. They got a thing going. Ted, Rob, Becky and I passed many hours around our dining room table, discussing the most important issues in our lives: bicycles, pot, and getting back to nature.

Big BoyBecky got an after-school job waitressing at the Big Boy restaurant on Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive and kept up with her school work. Things at home were calm for a while, but eventually Gen started paying attention again and didn't like what she saw. The discord began anew. At the end of her junior year in high school, Becky dropped out of Wakefield High and took summer classes to finish up the courses she needed to receive a diploma. She did that on her own initiative, asking neither advice nor permission from Gen and Doug. Becky is smart. Very, very smart.

I got fed up hearing Gen and Doug bitch about Becky and sympathized with Becky's reports of their encounters. I invited her to move in with Rob and me. Becky was not quite 18 yet and I figured on a battle with Gen over it. Gen uttered nary a whimper, since she believed that things between her and Doug would be fine with Becky out of the way (which didn't turn out to be the case). Becky moved into Rob's and my three-bedroom apartment and life was peaceful. Ironically, without Becky, Gen got lonely in her's and Doug's own three-bedroom apartment down Columbia Pike from ours. Doug's job required considerable business travel (funny business, as it turned out) and Gen was left to her own devices much of the time. Gen fixed dinner for me one evening while I was visiting. I expressed dismay that she was going to all that trouble for me. She said, "Oh, it's not so bad. It's very quiet around here anymore."