Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Soapbox Derby

Our three-story duplex commands a spectacular view of town from where it's been for years on top of a steep hill here on West Long Avenue, known as "Pollock Hill" by the townies. As a matter of fact, from our upstairs bathroom window, you can see the rainbow of soapbox derby cars parked between the freshly painted lines up the street on the curved curb.

I remember excitedly watching the soapbox derby as a child growing up in Coshocton, Ohio. I was such a tomboy during those younger years. I was always more comfortable up in a tree building a tree house, or with a hammer and nails helping daddy with one of his projects, than playing dolls with my sisters and friends. I was usually barefoot with bandaids covering my stubbed toes and skinned knees, and dirty from digging for pirate treasure. No, I was never a girly-girl.

I would have given my left leg to have been allowed by the derby folks to build a soapbox car and then race it. In those days, only boys were allowed in the derby. But I remember being there watching it and imagining ... and sitting there in the grass, I could almost feel the wind against my cheek as I headed downhill at full-speed towards the black and white painted finish line.

Last year was the first year I got to watch a soapbox derby as an adult. It was my first year here in DuBois in this house. Imagine my excitement when on derby race day, I awoke to the clamor of voices and cheering and trucks as they hauled the race cars back up to the top of the hill for their second heat. When I looked out my bathroom window, I was astonished.

As I dressed to go outside and watch, I was suddenly that little tomboy again, filled with the sweet joy, the awe and wonder of the soapbox derby. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the number of girls wearing derby numbers on their shirts. At last! How exciting it was for me to cheer as they did get to feel the wind on their cheeks as they raced downhill full-speed toward the finish line ...

Oops, I've gotta go! This year, the derby is today and it's nearly time. I have to go get dressed. Then, I'll just walk out my front door ... 'n be a kid again.

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Janet Caldwell said...

I love it, there is joy to be had here! xxx

CJ Heck said...

Thank you, Janet. I always love to hear from you :)

Cheryl said...

How sad and sobering to be reminded of those times when girls were excluded. How did we ever think that was okay? Well, we've made progress! But it makes me wonder how many many unfair and inappropriate aspects of our lives today are hidden from view only because we haven't yet "awakened" to see them clearly. Shake me, wake me . . . please!

CJ Heck said...

Lance Sheridan (from Facebook page)
CJ~ c'est magnifique - you write with exceptional talent!!

CJ Heck said...

Hi Em,
I agree with you -- I'm so sure there are other unfair and inappropriate aspects hidden from view ... it's up to us to bring them all out, for us and for our children's children. Thank you for your comments!
xx CJ

Anonymous said...

Hi CJ,

What a beautifully written, nostalgic piece.
We hope to see you at our June 18, 2011 Soap Box Derby Race. We will have a new division for kids with special needs next year.

Silas Platt
Local Race Director
DuBois Area Soap Box Derby