“Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – I Remember When

I Remember When
by Carmen D. Tom

Emily sitting on my lap.  She loved to take my glasses offas you can see.  the girls used to walk to our house often as they lived only a block and a half away.  They now live twenty-five miles away.  We miss seeing them everyday!(This story was written in 1991. It appeared in a local motorcycle publication. I just thought some would like reading the “story”.

I remember when I bought my first motorcycle; a time I will never forget. It was in the spring of 1946. I had just been discharged from the U.S. Navy. I had just returned from China, where I rode my first motorcycle. That story will keep for another time.

Chickee and Emily on my Harley. I had just returned from my yearly trip to Sturgis, S.D. My boots are still tied to my motorcycle.

In 1946 it was almost impossible to buy a new Harley or Indian; the waiting list was as long as it is today to get a new HOG. I bought a good used 1937 “45” for $325.00. It ran beautifully. I rode it back to the Dakotas to see family & friends. I remember the roads in those days were narrow and went through all the towns; big and small. It was the way to see the USA and how the people really live.

Our three year old all dressed for a party.I remember when Archie Bunkers’ War ended. I was in Leyte Gulf in the Phillipines. Thousands and thousands of ships waiting to go somewhere. The war ended. Some of us went to China; some to Japan and Korea.

I remember the first long motorcycle trip I and Donna went on. We had a new 1948 H.D. “45”. We rode back to the Harley factory in Milwaukee, Wisc. Took the big USS Clipper across Lake Michigan from Milwaukke to Muskegon. Then up through Canada and back East and all over. That too, could be a story in itself.

I remember the first Indian I bought; a 1942 war model 846. I pushed it more than I rode it.

Gina and her dad Rick riding AngelI remember the first motorcycle race I entered. It was at the World famous Jolly Rogers track. I rode a H.D. 125 cc; really powerful: 3 HP. We called the races “Scrambles” in those days.

I remember the first parade I rode in. It was SeaFair in the early 50’s. I rode with the Jolly Rogers Drill Team. We all had white Harleys and black and white uniforms (really sharp). Ask me sometime and I’ll share some pictures with you.

I remember the first NEW motorcycle I sold. It was a 1959 JAWA 250cc.

Tony, Cory and Carissa.  They loved to jump in bed with Papa.I remember when my first son was born; and the second son; and the third son; and the fourth son. I remember the first race John rode at the short track in Woodinville Rodeo Grounds; a 50cc Tohatsu. He and 10-12 others crashed. Donna cried; thought I had killed her son, but he got up and went on to become a real good mot-cross rider. Rick and Russ also did very well in moto-cross. Lots of trophies (and hurts & bruises).

Cory and Carissa one warm day at Long Beach, WA.I remember the first NEW Indians I bought; Floyd Clymer specials, 500cc and 750cc. I sold the 750, but still have the 500cc. It is Velo powered. Only 87 were ever produced.

I remember the first car I bought; a 1936 Olds convertible; beautiful blue. This was in 1946. I paid $650. for it. Today it is worth at least $10,000. I also remember the first NEW carl bought; a 1956 FORD V-8, 4 door for $2500.00. We drove back to the Dakotas just to pick it up!

I DON’T remember the first time I left the farm, but it was in the early 30’s. It was about this time I tried to ride a motorcycle. The guy at the Phillips 66 station had an old ID. Said that me and my buddy Virgil could Donna and I on our Honda Gold Wing.  We've kept this bike in Arizona for over 10 years.ride it if we could get it started. We pushed and pushed up and down the old Court House road a hundred times and not even a POP.

I remember in 1968 our motorcycle store burned to the ground. Over 56 New bikes went to their early glory.

I remember how hard it was to start all over again. With a lot of hard work and prayers, Donna and I did it.

No, I can’t remember the first Harley I sold, but I do remember still, loving to sell them.

My two best buddies, Eeny and Chubby.  They loved to play together.  We lost Chubby in 2000.I remember the first side car outfit I had; 11958 BMW R150 with a new Stieb car. Donna and I won 1st place at the Gypsy Tour in Long Beach, Wa. Those were the “Good Ole Days.”

I remember the first time I rode to Sturgis; in 1972 on my 1971 Moto-Guzzi. A 750 cc. I rode this machine 26,000 miles and no problems.

I remember the first long trip I took with my two grandsons. It was this summer in my beautiful white side car rig. We went to Sturgis, Devils Tower, Dinosaur Park and all over. The best side car made; the Liberty.

Our Arizona homeI remember when my good old buddy Vic Ebbutt and I rode to Sturgis. That too, is another story.

And yes, Don Dorsey is right, I don’t always ride what! sell. But, I happen to love all motorcycles. It just so happens, I now sell the worlds best; HARLEY DAVIDSON.

Yes, I remember the first race I seen old buddy Dorsey race in Woodinville’s short track …. And Don, “You don’t wear Cowboy boots when flat tracking and you are much too big for a 250cc.”

My brothers and sisters and grandsons Tony and Cory

Friend for 50 years, Fred Lang enjoying a swim in Mesa, Arizona

Enjoying the Arizona sun with my buddy

One of my Hondas.  Did that $2 luggage box!

Carissa and papa at Canyon Lake, Ariznoa. We just got off the boat.

Tom's Cycle in the early 1960's. We sold many makes, most are out of business today. We were the first Suzuki dealer in Seattle in 1960.

I rode many different makes of sidecars for many years.  I loved this beauty.

My 65th birthday, a big day at Downtown Harley.

I rode from Sturgis to Eastern South Dakota in August, 1979 to see my mother.

The first Jawa 250" I sold in 1950.  Leonard had just returned from a 1600 mile trip.

We build many trikes and choppers in the early 1960's. This one had an all steel body.

July 1970.  Russ and other kids bury Papa in the hot sand at Long Beach.

My son Russ, now owner of Downtown Harley enjoyed riding at Long Beach, Washington, 1970.

November 11th, 1968, fire destroyed our store.  We closed for 90 days.  It was one of the saddest days of our lives.

November 11th, 1968, fire destroyed our store.  We closed for 90 days.  It was one of the saddest days of our lives.

Big day at Downtown Harley in 1983 or 1984

One of the early choppers we built

Sitting on the front loawn at Russ's home on Lake Tapps.  I learned to fly in a R-22 many years ago.

Our early years.  Space was very limited.

Christmas at Downtown Harley in early 1983.  Just some of the old bikes.

Shanghai, China in 1945

My buddy, J.D. Davis and I in the Caronline Islands in 1944 on the sub Chaser.

My crew: Ingles from new Hampshire, Charlie Burgess form Virginia, J.D. Davis from Mississippi and me, somewhere in the South Pacific in 1944.

On the ramp of my LCM.  J.D. Davis, Charlie and myself, somewhere in the South Pacific during WW II.

U.S.S. St. Paul anchored in the rivers.  A lot of the piers were badly damaged from the war.  We would haul cargo to these ships.  We also hauled sailors to shore.  Shanghai in October, 1945.

Charlie and I enjoying ourselves in a night spot in Shanghai.  Duty was good in China.  December, 1945.

Three beuatiful sunny days into the hills of Mt. Rainier ending up in Ellensburg, Wash.  Donna, Louis and myself.  Cindy is missing in this picture.

Love Run in California, November, 1995.  Dig that beautiful Sportster.  We built hundreds of these.

Tom's Cycle in the early 1960's.  We sold many makes, most are out of business today. We were the first Suzuki dealer in Seattle in 1960.

Tom's Cycle in the early 1960's.  We sold many makes, most are out of business today. We were the first Suzuki dealer in Seattle in 1960.

A side trip in August, 1975 outside of Sturgis

On the Ambassador Bridge between Michigan and Canada.  There was very little traffic in those days. (Donna took this picture).

Our Harley in Ann Arbor, Michigan in August 1949, a 7000 mile trip.

A stop in Puerto Rico on our way to South America in the winter of 1991

Donna having fun on one of our many trips into Mexico

In front of a cafe in Alaska (August 1949)

One of our many trips to see planet earth

Donna in Alaska (I took this picture).

Clarence Fitting, myself, LeRoy Skjonsberg, Sam Denton in old South Dakota.  All friends since childhood.  We all lived in the Seattle area for over 50 years.

Ron, Al, myself (missing Slimbo).  A beautiful sunny day in 2002.  We rode up to Mt. Baker, Wash. As you can see, there was till lots of snow in the month of May. We could ride in T-Shirts.  We have riden together for years all over the Northwest.

My buddies and I on a ride to Mt. Baker, Wash., May of 2002.

Myself and Clyde McIver. Clyde is now an attorney for the Seattle Mariners baseball team. He had just returned from the "Iron But" run. 11,000 miles of riding in 10 days.  I sold Clyde his first Harley in 1983. He still has the bike. We rode to Sturgis, S.D. many years.

This race was in the early 1960's at the Scrambles track in Shelton, Wash. It was a good fast track. I was riding my twin pipe 250cc CZ. Joe Donners was riding his 250cc Greeves.  The CZ was much faster and better handling. Joe was a better and faster rider. I oved racing against him. We stayed friends, even after we both quit racing. He lost his life scuba diving in Alaska many years ago.

Donna and I on our restored 1942 Shim-Sing. I bought it and had it restored in China years ago.

My beautiful 1961 JAWA Side-car

Just one of the signs I painted in the early 1960's

Just one of the hundres of trucks I have lettered at Walker Sign Co. Today most signs are done on a computer.  No computer will ever match the beautiful hand lettered signs of yesterday

A Chopper ready to ship (in early 1970's)

Some of my great bikes in one of our garages.

My barn, the way I love it.

My barn will hold 4 cars, 20 motorcycles and has two stalls for our horses. The upstairs is divided into two parts: one half is attic for storage and he other half is Donna's Doll Room. She has a big collection of all kinds. Also, our home is full of dolls. Her favorites are "The South Dakota Twins", Danny and Donna. She purchased them a Wahl Drug in South Dakota in the 1980's.

I learned to fly a R-22. This was taken on the lawn of Russel's home on Lake Tapps.

Rikou. The Japanese built this one and thousands more in Japan from 1929 to 1960. I bought this bike in Osaka, Japan in the early 1960's. My son Rick completely restored and painted it. A nice feature in our store, we did everything in-house except for the chroming. I sold this bike to the Harley Davidson Co. in 1988. YOu can see it on display at the Harlye Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

My 1965 Harley Pan Head. This was restored for me by my wonderful family for my 65th birthday.

The World's Greatest Stunt and Drill Team. Just one of the many stunts the Cossacks do.

Myself, Brock Wheaton and Donna, my wife of 56 years. We rode together for over 56 years.

Brock riding, no hands.  Brock could ride two bikes at one time and do many manuvers. Brock was our service manager at Downtown Harley for over 10 years. Cancer got him in 2002. He also restored motorcycles. He did my 1946 Harley "74" and my 1942 INdian Army bike. These bikes, with my 1926 JD are on display at Downtown Harley Davidson in Tukwila.  Also on display are Russ's many custom bikes and many dirt bikes.

The Seattle Cossacks

Brock Wheaton

Three on a bike, no hands on the handlebars

Delon Sandmier riding two bikes at once. As far as I know, only 3 members could do that, Brock, Delon and John Moser.

Devils Tower National Monument

One Response to ““Yesterday’s Memories Tomorrow’s Dreams” by Carmen Tom – I Remember When”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Great , history Carmen. I worked for you from 1990-2000. You were a great person to work for, so much I learned. Your family is special and I am greatful to have been apart of the business and the family all these years! So many stories, you, Donna, Russ, Rick, John, Michael and the grand kids. And of course Chubby the pug shown above! Much Love Carmen!

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