In 1963 I saw some unicyclists called The Vilantes (spelling ?) on Hollywood
Palace or The Ed Sullivan Show. I decided right then and there that I must have
a unicycle! I begged my parents night and day. I demonstrated my balance by
walking on my hands and running on the top of fences. After 2 years of this, I
got one for Christmas. I grabbed it and headed outside, but my parents made me
open all my other gifts first.
The big moment finally arrived, and everyone came outside to watch (in a family
of 8 kids, there’s always an audience). At the ripe old age of 12 I was
convinced that with my superior balance and determination I could ride this
thing the first time I tried! So I put it in front of me and jumped right up on
it. And immediately I fell on my butt! Next time I fell on my face, then my
elbows, then my knees… well, you get the picture. My family went back inside
the house and I continued making a fool of myself in private. By the end of the
day I could ride about 100 feet (serpentine), turn around (wide berth) and ride
back. I have permanent scars from that day, especially on my ankles. To this
very day, when someone tells me they were able to ride a unicycle the first time
they ever tried, I think to myself “Yes, and I’ll bet the first time you ever
tried to tell a lie you succeeded at that too!”
I eventually mastered the critter and was an instructor at The Unicyclists
Unique Club in Phoenix, Arizona for several years. (more about that some
Maybe I’ll see some of you in Chariton, Iowa in '96.
Thank you and have a FANTASTIC day!