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In the Good Old Days Antiques Corner This Week in History
In the Good Old Days

Trivia Question

What were the names of the two monkeys that NASA sent into space in May 1959?

Banana Seats & Sissy Bars

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Brian and Daniela Byers/

It's my birthday this week. When I was a kid, having a summer birthday had its pros and cons. I was less likely to have a birthday party with classmates, but more likely to get homemade ice cream with the neighbor kids. I never got to bring treats to school or listen to my name being announced over the school PA system as "today's birthday girl," but I was more likely to receive (and get to enjoy) a present made for outdoors. On different birthdays I received a tire swing, a skateboard, a Hula-Hoop and a Slip'N Slide -- all perfect for hot summer days. But one year I received the ultimate birthday gift for a 10-year-old girl in the early 1970s: a metallic purple-and-white banana-seat bicycle with high-rise handlebars and streamers. It even had a white basket with plastic flowers on the front and a sissy bar on the back!

I was in kid heaven.

My dad had tried to talk me into a green boys' bike from the hardware store uptown. It was more practical, he said. But I was having none of it. One look at that work-of-art on wheels and I was hooked. It was my first bike that wasn't a hand-me-down from my older brothers, and I knew its feminine qualities would guarantee that they would never borrow it. My brother Brian immediately crafted a noisemaker for my back wheel out of a playing card and a clothespin, and off I went around the block in all my glory.

I put a lot of miles on that bike and loved every minute. But when I was 14, it was time for a new one to get me around town, and to and from school, practices and the ice cream parlor where I worked. I was growing up.

I bought a green boys' bike at the hardware store uptown. It was more practical.  

'Til next time,

Mary Beth Weisenburger,
Good Old Days® magazine

PS. What was your first bicycle like? When did you get it? We want to hear about it! Send a brief response to me at and it could appear in a future update or in Good Old Days magazine!

Mary Beth Weisenburger has been with Annie's since April 2011. She has 25 years of experience in the marketing, advertising and publishing fields. In addition to her job as editor of Good Old Days, she has been writing a family humor column for over a decade. She and her husband, two college-age kids, two dogs and various other critters live on five acres in the country, where she enjoys reading on the back porch, refinishing furniture, feeding the birds and digging in the dirt of her perennial gardens.

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Trivia Answer

Able and Baker. On May 28, 1959, NASA sent two monkeys into space to test the safety of human space travel. Both Able and Baker returned from their 16-minute space adventure in good condition.

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