Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook April 25, 2014
Caption #1: A sample of wood bicycle rims made in Onaway. This page is from the American Wood Rim Trade Catalog.
As the long winter leaves us and the ruins of the American Wood Rim Company start to come alive, I find the following two-part story one of the best I have ever read.
It is "The Autobiography of a Bicycle Rim" written by Arno Austin, a freshman of only 15 years old when he wrote the autobiography for the first ever Senior Annual of the Onaway High School. The year was 1912.
The Autobiography of a Bicycle Rim
I was very happy when I first came to daylight because I grew among a number of large trees who told me many tales they had heard.
I was somewhat larger than my neighbor and there were three squirrels who nestled in my pockets in preference to those around me.
As time went on I became larger and larger, until one day in the prime of my life, a man came along and cut some of my skin off, then hit me with a funny hammer: it worried me greatly because he showed no partiality but did the same to many others.
We had not waited long when some men came and cut us off near our feet and then allowed us to fall to the ground. I broke an arm in falling, but they did not attend to it as I supposed they would, but cut off the upper half of my body, leaving only my trunk.
Then in a few days two large animals pulled me away and soon I was lying on a large flat thing, with many other trunks on top of me. The big flat thing began to move and finally stopped near a pond of water and we were all dumped into it. Now I like water but this was so very dirty and every little while some boys would run across our backs and get us all wet again.
I didn't have to suffer this treatment very long as a man soon jabbed me in the back and pulled me toward a track which ran into a large building. While I was looking up a large black monster came down at a terrific speed right toward me. I thought I was doomed surely, but it went right under me and splashed me with some more of that dirty water. I waited and soon felt that monster rising under me. All at once it stuck its claws into me and started up the track. I was soon rolled off this and on to a a larger monster, which rushed rapidly back and forth every time it carried me forward I had a great slab cut off my side. After I had been taken from here to another apartment and cut into small pieces about 7 1/2 feet long and 2 inches square I began to think that I wasn't going to amount to very much after all. I was still wondering what was to become of me, when I was put into a long hot iron thing where I was steamed until I became soft and very weak, then pulled out and put into a funny thing which bent me into a hoop shape and hurt me very much.
To be continued next week.
From the Onaway Outlook, April 25, 2014, page 3.
Retyped by J. Anderson