Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Flexible Flyer

It was a long driveway, and my grandfather obligingly lifted the plow about an inch higher so that we'd have packed snow for sledding. We were two kids, brother and sister, out for the most fun we could have on a snowy day -- whipping down the driveway on our old Flexible Flyer. This remains one of my fondest memories from childhood: those snowy rides down the driveway, around the curve and into the parking area by our house.

I searched the web this morning and actually found a website entirely devoted to old sleds, most notably the Flexible Flyers. According to this website, ours was probably from the Class C series of the 1930s. It had belonged to my Uncle Norman when he was a teenager, and it had made its sturdy way down to us kids in the 1960s, still a formidable and fast sled.

In fact, it looked very much like this one:


When we were very young, my mother had to go out and push us (poor woman!). As we grew older, we mastered the art of running with the sled and then "belly-flopping" onto it for the rest of the ride.  It was an art to know exactly when to stop running and hit the sled for the maximum ride. And we mastered it, believe me.

When I was about 8, my father purchased a new Flexible Flyer for me to use, so that we'd have two sleds and wouldn't quarrel so often.  The one Dad bought me was a little bit smaller than our old one and it was NEVER as fast as the 1930s model, not by a long shot.  Eventually my brother was forced to go back to taking turns with me so that I could have some of the good sled rides, too. He wasn't too happy. I think I may have to remind him of that when I next talk to him. (The little sister in me never quite goes away, you know...)

I haven't seen a Flexible Flyer in years, I think. Nowadays the kids whoosh down hills with entirely different styles of sleds - no metal runners. If the snow surface on the hill is icy enough, they can get the same kind of ride that we kids did with our FF on our packed down driveway. And without runners, it's probably a safer sport. I remember my mother being very strict about us staying out of the way if we weren't the person on the sled.

But I wouldn't trade my Flexible Flyer snow day memories for anything, believe me.

- Catherine


Christy said...

What great memories! Even I, the non-snow-lover, can appreciate how fun that must have been.

Cindy (Letters From Midlife) said...

I remember those! Thanks for the memory of sledding with my siblings.

Anonymous said...

You have some wonderful memories. I don't think we ever had a sled like that. We just had the plastic ones! I bet the FF is better. :0)