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Blog > August 2011 > The Baby or the ’62 Panhead?

The Baby or the ’62 Panhead?

There has been a long-standing account surrounding the story of my birth. The story comes up at least once during family holiday gatherings: "Hey remember when Bob bought that bike?" and everyone laughs hysterically.

My parents had been trying to have a baby and had been saving up for the grand occasion. Unfortunately, two years later, there was no baby, but there was a small amount of money in the bank. My father, Bob, heard of “a guy in New York” who was selling a 1962 Panhead Chopper “really, really cheap,” and my father rushed to buy it. There was no baby, so there might as well be a bike.

The catch was… the entire motorcycle was in pieces, and my father brought home the bike in a metal trashcan. My mother, Mae, was horrified, but my father reassured her that all the original parts were in that trash can. He did not realize that she was appalled at the prospect of him spending the money on fragments and parts of a bike in an old trash can.

It  turned out that all the original parts were not included in the can, but he was able to restore it by buying “chrome from that guy and some parts from that other guy.” For a year, my father rebuilt the Chopper piece by piece.

My mother forgave him, as the Chopper clearly was a thing of beauty, and she saw that my father had worked so hard in his restoration, working most nights and weekends to restore the Chopper to its former glory.

The bike was finally complete, and my parents decided it was time to take it out for a ride. Not ten minutes in, my mother yelled for my father to pull over to the side of the road because she was horribly nauseous. She looked at my father and said, “I think I am pregnant.” My father replied shortly, “No, there is no way.” But alas, he was wrong. My mother was pregnant.

My father rode that bike a few more times, and then sold it. He then took the money and bought all the furniture for the baby’s room. A bouncing baby girl, namely me, was born on January 3, 1978. And for the last 33 years, my father has never let me forget (as he chuckles): “You know, I  sold my '62 Panhead for you!”

Posted: 8/2/2011 8:52:48 PM | with 2 comments

Sally James
WOW, really cool story. Nice to see a human interest story. Keep it up
8/18/2011 11:37:02 AM
I love this story!
8/4/2011 6:35:29 PM
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