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Dream Quest One First Writing Prize Winner -
 
Summer 2016
is 
 
DACIA JOHNSON
of Maywood, Illinois - USA
 
 
 
 
 

It Is Never Too Late to Dream

 

By Dacia Johnson

           

Growing up in the 1980s, I spent much of my time listening to music by some of my favorite artists. I had a boom box that had a single cassette deck. I know cassettes sound primitive these days since we use iPods and mp3 files. Just like anyone else, I had my childhood dreams. Back then, I tended to listen to my radio and daydream about what I wanted to do with my life. I am an adventurous, driven, and spontaneous person by nature. If I see something I want, I pursue it. One thing my mother used to tell me was that I knew how to entertain myself. This meant that if none of my friends could come outside and play, I played by myself and found something constructive to do. In life, there may be obstacles that try to stand in your way. However, these obstacles should not stop you. In this case, my age could have been an obstacle. I was only eleven years old. I was too young for a driver’s license. Yet, I wanted a scooter. During this time, there were scooters children asked their parents for, that you could push with your foot. That was not the type of scooter I was looking for. The scooter I desired was a candy-apple red 1986 Honda Elite 150 Deluxe. That is quite a title for a scooter. They came in two colors, metallic blue and candy-apple red. I dreamed of this scooter from the moment I saw it. This particular model had a pop-up headlight. To date, it is the only one I have ever encountered with a pop-up headlight.

 

As soon as you put the key in the ignition, the headlight would come up. I know some of my friends may have thought I was crazy to desire such a lofty thing at my young age. For example, if I did get it, how would I ride it? I did not have a license. Plus, it is a big bike and it is heavy. I was only about 5 feet 2 inches tall. However, I did not let that stop me. Even my sister told me to wait and get a car. She thought I could put my money towards saving for a car instead of trying to get a scooter. I would have my license in just over four years. I didn’t want to wait. I could not wait. I had to have that scooter. What was the next step? I asked my parents if I could have one. Years later, I realized that I never asked them to buy the scooter for me. I only asked if I could have one. My parents said yes.

 

My goal at that point was to save every penny I could in order to realize my dream of owning that scooter. When I was outside riding my bike, I would pick up money I found lying on the ground so that I could give it to my mother to save for me. She would put my allowance and any money I found outside into my coin purse. I was an avid saver. I was too young to have a job. My only option was to do chores for an allowance. I denied myself trips to the store to buy gum and candy as best as I could. That was not an easy task seeing that I lived right across the street from a gas station that sold candy, gum, pop, and chips.

 

            I recall being in 8th grade in 1988 and sitting on my front porch to do my science homework. Why, you might ask? Well, I lived across the street from a gas station at that time. This meant that at any given moment, one of these beloved scooters could make a stop to be refueled for gas. Since my street was a main thoroughfare, the likelihood of someone riding down my block on one was very good. Let me go back to 1987. It was summertime and the weather was pleasant. I lived next door to two young ladies who were in high school. They decided to throw a party. They had a DJ and all of their friends over. I was too young to attend their party. By this time, I was twelve and a half years old. The issue was that you had to be a teenager to come to their party. This made no sense to me, for I would be turning thirteen by the end of the year. Plus, the party was in their backyard. All I had to do was jump over the fence, since I could see everything that took place in their yard anyway. My sister was old enough to attend, but she did not want to go. Another friend of mine attended, but he soon left. I guess he got bored. I stayed on my side of the fence in my backyard, watching the activity and listening to the sounds of House music the DJ played from the garage. Music is a part of who I am as an artist and creative person, so I wasn’t planning on going anywhere. During the party, a song entitled “Move Your Body” by Marshall Jefferson was played. To my surprise, two metallic blue 1986 Honda Elite 150 Deluxe models appeared with a guy on each one of them, blowing their horns to the groove of the song! I was elated! I began to jump up and down as if to say, “Please take me on a ride with you.” That was truly the highlight of that party.

 

            It seemed like just about every weekend I convinced my father to drive me to a motorcycle shop named Otto Bros., located in Lyons, IL. From 1986 to 1990, I collected just about every brochure I could that had scooters in it. I was obsessed with them, especially the 1986 Elite 150 Deluxe model. I could not get enough of it. I also liked Honda because I think Prince rode on one in his movie, Purple Rain. I would see other Honda scooter models ride down my block. The Spree was the very base model scooter they offered. Next, there was the Elite 50. I know a young lady who I went to grade school with that had a pink Elite 50. I believe they came in two colors, red and pink. The Elite 80 was a beautiful bike as well. I used to see them in blue when they first debuted in the 80s. As time went on, there were red and black ones. The Elite 250 was one step above the Elite 150, but it had no pop-up headlight. It was a two-seater bike like the 80 and the 150. The flagship bike was called The Helix. This bike came in the color red. I did not like it too much. It had a wide base and reminded me of a Honda Goldwing. None of these compared to the Elite 150 I had come to love. On occasion, my father would get a local paper called ‘Trading Times.’ This was way before Craigslist and Ebay hit the scene. Sometimes, I would see owners of the Elite 150 Deluxe sell their bikes in the Trading Times paper. It seemed many of these sellers lived in a Chicago suburb called Oak Park, IL. From that moment on, I was sure that my scooter would come from Oak Park. I am sure there were sellers of the Spree, the Elite 50, and the Elite 80. The only bike I was looking for was the Elite 150.

 

            By Spring of 1989, I was in the 8th grade preparing to graduate. From 1986 to 1989, I had saved about $500 and was a bit tired of saving my money for that scooter. Of course, I still wanted it, but I wanted to buy other things with that money like clothes. Temptation was all around me, but I had one goal in mind. Like an Olympic hopeful desires to have a gold medal, I wanted the scooter of my dreams. It was my prize. I was persistent and I had drive. I wanted to see the fruit of my labor. It just wasn’t happening as fast as I had hoped. One spring morning, I picked up the Trading Times paper and saw an ad for a 1988 Yamaha Riva Jog scooter. It was not the one I wanted, but it was a red scooter none the less. At this point, I just wanted a scooter. I wanted something to show for my saving nearly every dime I could get my hands on.

 

            The seller lived in Addison, IL. My father took me and my best friend, PJ, to see it. PJ was 4 years younger than I was and lived next door. He looked up to me like I was the big sister he never had. Plus, he wanted to go and see the scooter. We drove out to Addison to see the bike. The seller was asking for $535 for the scooter. He was looking to buy a motorcycle and wanted to sell his scooter to help pay for it. He looked like he could have been about 21 years old at the time. I liked the bike. It was clean and seemed to be in pretty good shape. The seller got on it and demonstrated how well it rides. Excited, I agreed to buy it. We had to go home to get my money. I know I only had about $500 in savings. I think my parents secretly added the additional $35 to my balance. I rushed and ate breakfast so that I could get back to business. I had a scooter to go and get! I waited for my father to finish eating. After he was done, PJ, my father, my sister, and I loaded ourselves into the van, to go back to Addison and pick up my scooter. On the way home, I sat on it in the back of the van for the whole ride. I was so excited even though it was not what I actually wanted.

 

            That same Saturday, I fell off of the scooter while riding it in my backyard. PJ was on his porch with some friends. While in my backyard, I looked over my right shoulder to see who saw me, and rammed the left side of the bike into the bricks of my house. I shattered the side view mirror and fell. I had a minor scrape. I was embarrassed and a bit afraid to tell my mother. She had left and went to the store. I was waiting for her to return so that I could tell her. I thought she would make me sell it. After she arrived home, I told her what happened. To my surprise, she did not make me sell it. I was so relieved.

 

            I got on my Huffy bike and rode it around the block to my other friend Teke’s house. I told her cousins in a bragging way, “You said I wasn’t going to get a scooter, but I did. I have one now.” I then turned and rode my Huffy back to the house to find that they followed close behind to see this scooter. I showed my used Yamaha to them all. They were all younger than I so they couldn’t ride it. After I got into high school, a girl named Felicia rammed my scooter into my neighbor’s fence in their front lawn. She not only damaged their fence to no repair, she damaged the left front fender of my bike as well. It still worked, but it was scratched up. That was in 1990. However, it had some exhaust problems and stopped working by 1991. My father tried to fix it to no avail.

 

            Interestingly enough, a guy named Cleophus lived two houses down and he owned a red 1986 Honda Elite 150 Deluxe. The previous owners of that house had a son named Kevin who had a metallic blue one. It was fate! The scooter of my dreams was still my hearts desire. I went to look at it every chance I got. I had art class in school, and I often drew pictures of it from my brochures. People had Kenwood radios installed on them. So I envisioned myself riding mine with a Kenwood or Pioneer radio on it, each time I listened to my boom box. I had the Yamaha, but I never lost sight of the scooter I really desired to own.

 

            Years passed and I did not think about the scooter much. By this time, it was spring 2001. I was at church one Sunday and my Pastor said, “Some of you have been believing God for some things and they are about to manifest.” Without hesitation, that scooter came instantly to my mind. I immediately jumped up and began thanking God for it. I didn’t know where it was coming from at the time. I just thanked God for it anyway. By November of that same year, I happened to be on Ebay. I decided to look to see if they had any of those scooters for sale. On occasion I would see one listed. To my surprise, they had a red one the same make and model as the one I dreamed of owning just 15 years before! The caption mentioned it had 124 original miles on it. I ended up outbidding someone and won the auction! Plus, my scooter came all the way from California instead of Oak Park, IL. I had it checked out and tuned up at Otto Bros. motorcycle shop and the 124 miles was accurate. This is a true story to testify that we should never give up on our dreams. No matter how lofty. No matter how long it takes. Never give up and never be afraid to dream. It just may come true.

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About the author:

Dacia Johnson has worked as an Academic Advisor and Registrar at DeVry University for nearly 12 years. For nearly 20 years, she has been a sound engineer and released an instrumental music CD on an independent label. Dacia holds an Associate of Arts degree from Triton College, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and an MBA degree in Marketing from Keller Graduate School of Management. She resides in a suburb of Chicago.