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Rubberside Down: Prized possession

By Ken Weingart

It’s a plain, unlined windbreaker crafted of a synthetic material. It was purchased maybe 30 years ago from the show window of a friend’s Army-Navy store on Junction Boulevard in Corona, New York.

The blue color was a perfect match for my Cross Island MC back patch and the vertical white stripe on the left breast surely did not detract. That area ended up being the perfect spot to put a pin or two. I already had a few stashed away when I bought the jacket.

That brings up the subject of the AMA. The American Motorcyclist Association is just a few years away from celebrating its 90th birthday and was originally known as the American Motorcycle Association back then before the flood of imports drove Indian out of business. I joined when membership dues were set at a buck a year (and my U.S. Navy pay was $52 per month).

Besides that neat first AMA pin that came with membership, the association made it worthwhile with an additional different pin for each subsequent year until 25 was reached. Since I was still in my early 20s at the time, I stood a shot at getting the whole shmear.

I made my wife Renee join long before we were engaged. When the kids came along, as soon as we knew the sex and settled on a name, applications to the AMA were popped into the mail slot at the hospital. That way, they’d be life members on their 25th birthdays.

When I had the club patch sewn on the back, it looked like it belonged there. And then when I earned a shoulder patch for District 34 of the AMA, that, too, found a spot and was added.

Before long, all 25 AMA pins were arrayed on the broad white stripe, along with a few dirt bike awards. Renee donated a few to fill the blank spots, and the jacket has been my favorite year-round garment for most of my life.

When a stroke affected my throttle hand and right side, I was finally forced to admit defeat. I took my first motorcycle ride in 1942 and it was time, finally, to give up and let go in 2007. But I think I’ll continue to consider myself a biker, if you don’t mind, for all time forward.

I’m still a charter member of the Moose Riders MC out of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. One of their members, Rick Donk, recently pointed out that the pins adorning my prized jacket were worth hundreds of dollars. In today’s economy, Renee wants me to sell it. What do you think I should do?

 

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