'86 was also the year mom got blue bikes for her birthday. That was the year of the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. All the boys in our apartment building used to hang out in the parking lot, playing war or speculating about what exactly was going on in one of the kid's apartments. One day we all saw a bright ball of smoke far far away, it looked like it was up where a jet's contrails would be. The next day we found out about the Challenger.
Mom told us it couldn't be the shuttle. That the accident had happened too high, and that it wouldn't have been visible from our part of the earth anyway (remember, this was down in Rio). She was surely right, but I've never looked it up. I like to think that it was possible.
And that was the year mom got blue bikes for her birthday. May 28th or thereabouts we came back from playing outside and mom and dad said they had a surprise for us. And there they were: two brand new, bright blue Caloi bicycles for Jon and for me (of course I can't remember if Jennifer got anything...the important thing was that I got a bike). Are you kidding me? We get bikes for your birthday?!
And they were great bikes. I think they made it through a couple of moves. Our building in Rio sat on the crest of a hill, just short of the top, and I used to ride my bike around the cul-de-sac at the top, shirtless, eating apple after apple. One time I fell off heading down that hill, and scraped my chest all up. I mean, those were great bikes.
She never gave us anything for her birthday again.