Glazer: Scribe Gets Shafted by Santa, Types His Way Out of Prison

I just wrote about not believing there is a God…

I also said holidays like Christmas are becoming more of a family event than a religious celebration. And like most Americans, I believe in being with your loved ones over the holidays.

Thanksgiving is maybe my favorite holiday this time of year.

Why? It’s basically Christmas minus the gifts and with less hassle and more football. It’s got the same meal – turkey and gravy – I love it.

Gifts are always an issue, especially for the young ones. Remember when you didn’t get what you’d dreamed of getting? I do.

My father told me if I got a B average he’d buy me a mini-bike for Christmas. Wow. I was 14, played freshman football at Meadowbrook and lived outside the school district, so I had a long haul to school. It was a long walk and a long bike ride.

Plus all the cool kids had mini bikes.

Remember? I think they were called Rupp Mini Bikes and they were fast. With five horsepower they could go 45 miles an hour. Zoom!

My brother Jeff was an A student and a much better ball player. Later he would be the J-V quarterback at Shawnee Mission East. He was promised a nice 10 speed bike for all A’s. We both hit the mark, Jeff got an A average and me a B. Man, was I excited, maybe as much as I ever was in my life.

Finally the big day came.

I’d get my mini bike that morning, maybe wake up and see it in my room. I knew it would be gold – most of the cool faster ones were gold. I’d never wear that stupid helmet, well maybe just to make Mom happy. And my girlfriend would fall madly in love with her man on his mini bike. I’d be the coolest kid in 9th grade.

Finally a BIG WIN.

It must have been around 5 A.M. Christmas morning when I heard a noise that woke me up. I looked up from my bed and there on my kids desk was a typewriter. It must be a nightmare, I thought. So I went back to sleep and woke up again at 6 A.M. Yep, still just a typewriter.

Jeff woke up to his 10 speed. I was crushed.

The deal I’d made with my dad was broken. All the kids at school would think I was a jerk. No mini bike.

A couple years later Jeff was given the gold mini bike for all A’s and being the starting quarterback in 9th grade. I never did get one. Jeff let me ride his on rare occasion. It was a big blow at the time. My dad told me it was for my own good.

Funny, as time went by I did buy a small Harley.

One day I was riding it to practice and had Alan Cosner on the back seat going down Calvin’s Hill and hit a sand trap near the road. My bike dipped and I hit my knee on the gravel. It took my knee cap off. No more major sports. At least not any I was ever going to be good at again.

I never wanted a bike again – too dangerous. Hah.

I became a decently fast typist. Most kids didn’t type in those days and later it was a major help. Not just in school but when I got to prison.

My last couple years in the slammer I was sent to a prison camp where about 800 men lived in the desert of Boron,. California. Edwards Air Force Base used inmates for cheap labor and they had a request from material control for a guy who could type fast. You had to be 18 months short (from going home) to work at the Air Base and I was just over 24 months short. But I typed nearly 90 words a minute and got the job. It got me 8 hours of freedom a day for five days a week. Nice.

So you never know.

Sometimes your worst moments can become good ones later.

We all have stories about things we wished for but never got. Often it was at Christmas. Still I have to admit, I sure did want that mini bike.

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29 Responses to Glazer: Scribe Gets Shafted by Santa, Types His Way Out of Prison

  1. Orphan of the Road says:

    I woke upon hearing a commotion in the house. It was about 6am, I was four and I jumped out of bed, ran to the living room. It was full of presents. Hardly room to walk.

    And there sat my grandfather with a big ol’ shiner. Says Santa tried to stiff us and ‘Pa took it to him to get the sleigh full of toys.

    Big impression on a four-year-old. Best.Christmas.Ever.

    Then six-months later he took his life. Long story but that was the end of Christmas for me.

    From mid-November thru Christmas has held many tragedies in my life. Tough time for lots of us. Everybody all festive while the ghosts of the past haunt your mind.

    Learning to type was unusual for guys in our time. I could do 70wpm in jr hs, 90 when I tested at new job. Also took printing, hand-set type. Came in handy durning my “Clark Kent” years, being able to read upside-down/backward.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Orphan, that same story and those same timelines are indentical for so many people. Odd how that works, but if you care enough to actually listen to friends, it would lead one to think its almost universal! You’re in this guys thoughts as you navigate the season, once again.

      I guess thats where the old line came from; God gave us friends as an apology for F’ing up our family!

  2. paulwilsonkc says:

    One other note, Craig; I had the Roadster, then upgraded to the Black Widow! I thought I was the coolest thing around! This was growing up in Carthage, Mo, zip code EIEIO, and a lot of us kids had them. So many, in fact, that we organized Rupp Polo games! Yes, you got it, regular polo, but played on mini bikes and it HAD to be a Rupp! You want to talk about beat up, cut up, broken and abraised guys! Its where your playing chicken skills either worked… or you hobbled away and your Rupp went home in the back of someones truck to be repaired for the next weekends game!!

    • Super Dave says:

      The trick to these bikes was taking the stock engine off and putting go-kart racing motors on and switching sprockets out. I had one I have no idea how fast it would have gone. A friend said he went 60 on it I will take his word I was never brave enough to see it top end in speed. But I and one other class mate(who I got the motor from whose uncle raced karts back in the days) and I was unbeatable in races with other local kids and a few cops who never could catch us. This was back in the days where few houses had fences and we could be on the next block in less than 5 seconds. In fact only time I got a ticket on mine I was sitting still in the middle of the street when a Shawnee cop came around the corner. Since engine was same as red hot was hard to explain I had been pushing it somewhere. Yes back in the late 60’s mini bikes was a huge no no on the streets. Shawnee and O.P. cops loved to try and nail us and in fact many was caught more than once. I remember the judge telling me if it was powered by anything more than a rubber band it best have a tag on it and I best have a DL to operate it.

      • chuck says:

        Cool story.


      • harley the mayor of kcc says:

        super dave…had a mini bike…rode it thru prairie village
        til a policeman named cochise (ko- cheeese) stopped me.
        said i could not ride the bike home…made me push
        it all the way from st. anns home.
        cochise was afamous p.v. cop in the late 70’s who hated everyone. many people would know this guys hisotry.

        • Super Dave says:

          Wow I had forgot the name but remember the mean as hell cop in PV. Mission, Roeland Park just had idiots who couldn’t get jobs any where else, Merriam cops was cool to me since I worked in the city and knew me. O.P. cops was so so got away with things from some of them since they was tight with my Dad. Shawnee had this Hawaiian guy who later became Chief who loved nothing better to chase and jack with the kids. I beat his ass in court once and then he really hated me. I was on my motorcycle going south from Johnson Dr on Nieman one night about midnight and had this Halloween mask of Dracula on and he pulled me over and wrote me for obscured vision. I remember Dad hated this guy and was well if you couldn’t see anything how you know he was trying to pull you over…hmmmmmmm, good point Dad. Any way in court I said not guilty so judge heard Officer Hayseldens side of the story then asked me why I thought my vision wasn’t obscured I just said to the judge that I saw him pull in behind me and hit the cherries and I pulled right over so I had no trouble at all seeing he was behind me. Judge just looked at me, then at Hayselden for few seconds said the court finds you not guilty and slapped his litle hammer down. Till I sold that motorcycle it was like Hayselden had ESP and knew when I hit town on it and was right there. Ahhh life was so much fun 68 to 1980 then it all changed. Mini recession and well things was just changed and far as I see it will never be the same again.

  3. chuck says:

    I think you shoulda got the bike Glaze.

    A deal is a deal. My dad NEVER went back on his word.

    I crushed my heel and severed my Achilles tendon on my Harley when I got out of the service in 1973. I had more Harleys, a Norton 750 Commando and a Triumph Triple lunger. Those biks were big time fun, but you’re right, very dangerous. I got hit by cars 3 more times. (Make your own jokes here.)

    I am sorry to read Orphan’s story. Jeeze. Really sorry.

    I am with Paul’s comment and very sorry to hear of that tragedy.

    God Bless.

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      Well here’s a little Christmas song to brighten your day after my Debbie Downer story.

    • expat says:

      Interesting stuff. There are people who get scared off by a close call or injury and some who just can’t stop themselves from riding again. I low sided under a truck this spring and spent two months in the hospital with a broken/dislocated hip etc but took my bike on a road trip as soon as I was walking again.

  4. chuck says:

    God Bless Mrs. Lister from Ruskin High, who taught me how to type.

    The quick brown fox…

  5. the dude says:

    Be happy Glazer, I didn’t even get my two front teeth one year.

  6. Craig Glazer says:

    Great comments, fun tales, like them…nicely done.

  7. harley the mayor of kcc says:

    orphan…know the story.
    I rode with med-act for a year. One xmas eve we went on a call to a family’s
    house and the mother had a heart attack in the shower. The tension was incredible
    as 20 family members watched. Couldn’t save her and that was one of the saddest
    and most emotional things that’s happened during the holiday for me.
    We celebrate xmas and hanuka so it’s stretched out for 2 weeks. But I
    do lots of charity work and charity promotions acorss the nation providing
    transportation to 20-30 needy families every year. And i also ring the bells
    for salvation army…yes…harley is probably the #1 bell ringer in america
    having cooerced many people to give big money. I will announce my location
    and kettle so all my kcc friends can come contribute.
    But try doing something positive. It makes the season so much better.
    I will also be doing my usualy “xmas display” this year having not been
    able to do it for the last 2 years.
    But stay positive….every thing works out and as I have always
    said…it is a beautiful beautiful world we live in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Reggin Tnuc says:

    Gentlemen, with much consideration and calculation, all due respect, but 5HP will not propel you to 45mph with a typical, for the times, mini bike, torque converter/clutch transmission. It would require an incredibly sophisticated multi speed transmission to do that and even then it would have been a stretch back in the day unless you were dealing with JATO or nitrous.

    • admin says:

      Well, in doing a little research online from former Rupp owners, the horsepower appears to have been closer to three hp and there are mentions of attaining up to 45 mph.

      Perhaps going down the hill on Wornall Road to the Plaza.

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        The Black Widow could hit that, but remember, we were all kids doing constant mods on our bikes too. From carb and jet work to different sprocket ratios to complete engine swaps!

      • Super Dave says:

        But guys was always bypassing the governors and changing sprockets out and you could make one of those babies fly. I hate to say how many there was of these mini bikes under different manufactors and one kid we knew who’s Dad operated the B.F. Goodrich store in Mission who had a brand that had 5 hp motors on them, he was faster and those who got them as well than a lot of the Rupps was. As I said mine and two other people we really had tricked out ones but not all kids lucky to have those options there for them or the money to do so. Shoot I remember days when the NE corner of 75th and Nieman would have couple dozen of more mini’s running around racing and trying to kill each other on jumping off dirt piles before 1970 that was a huge ass empty field not like it is today.

  9. Rick Nichols says:

    During Dad’s first 20 years at The Star he worked on several stories where a kid was either killed or seriously injured while riding a bike, so there were never any bicycles in Santa’s bag when he headed down the proverbial chimney at our house. I’ve never owned a bike in my life, but my younger sister bought one when she got her first job and had her own spending money. Oh, well, such is life.

  10. harley the mayor of kcc says:

    mostly in olathe and on grandview…been a long time
    were you with medact?
    hayes…burnett…brian (window tint guy) arnett?…press..
    some wild people… had somewild stories with those people off work…………….wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Kerouac says:

    When Kerouac was a boy at Christmas time, was always more interested in trying to catch a glimpse Santa/his sled & Reindeer exiting our premises… the gifts could wait.

    Also used to look up at the sky and wonder: “where’s the ceiling/roof? There has to be one up there, right?” This also the age when I’d fill every page an Big Chief Tablet (the red one with the Indian on it) with numbers, in an futile pursuit to find a finite ‘top end’ (never did… boy did my hand get tired; no double entendre.)

    Always started at 1, proceeded on from there; no one ever clued me in I’d be better served starting at a trillion or more & going on from there – thanks for the heads up, ma/pa. I finally stopped looking for that roof & a peek number (nowadays, compare said with trying divine when another Chiefs Championship will drop out of the sky.)

    Perhaps as the old ‘Twilight Zone’ episode ‘Walking Distance’ alluded, “maybe there is only one summer to a customer (childhood)”… what a wonderful time it was.

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