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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
This will be in an upcoming issue of Motorcycle Mojo.

by David Booth

It was my mom who got me into motorcycling.

Not my dad: My mom.

Yeah, it surprised me too. I had been pleading for a minibike for some two years — an eternity to a 13-year-old with ADD — with the intensity, like all 13-year-olds chasing their dreams, defending the indefensible. It didn’t look to be going very well. My father hated motorcycles — absolutely hated ‘em — refusing to even acknowledge my plaintive “I wanna a minibike” while my mother, well, like all mothers of now long bygone era, just said, “Go ask your father.” In other words, I wasn’t getting a minibike.

Until, well, I did. I remember it well. Somehow it has been wheeled into the downstairs’ living room and put near — not under; it was a small hose — the Christmas tree. I knew what it was right away, its little 10-inch wheels sticking out beneath reindeer wrapping, its high mount “scrambler” exhaust clearly visible under Christmas decoration. It was a Candy Gold CT70, Honda’s — and therefore the industry’s — predominant minibike, 72 cubic centimetres of salvation and skinned knees.

It was quickly apparent who was to thank for this sudden blessing. My dad made it very clear, as I began its undressing, that his optic nerves were offended by the mere appearance of motorized two wheeler. Or as he put it, in a tone that usually preceded corporal punishment, “I don’t want to ever see that fucking thing!”

Nor, if you knew my father — imagine Sgt. Rock, only with general’s bars on a faux military jacket — this was far from just a figure of speech. He really didn't want to lay eyes on it. So, as soon as it was unwrapped, mom and I squeezed it into the understairs cubby that normally held our firewood and covered it with enough blankets that not only was it hidden from “prying” eyes, but that its general shape was indistinguishable from, well, a pile of firewood. He really did hate motorcycles that much.

It’s no surprise then that when it came to actually riding the blessed apparition — “I wanna a motorcycle” having now, of course, been replaced with “I wanna ride my motorcycle” — it was mom who expedited the process. Quite how the two of us loaded 72 kilograms of Honda freedom machine into the trunk of a 1964 Chevy Biscayne — I don’t know how mom managed to wheedle $350 out of dad’s pocket for the Trail 70, but sure-as-shootin’, we weren’t getting a bike trailer — but come mid-February, I was riding through the snowdrifts of nearby Lac Rapide.

My mother was part of pretty much every major motorcycle event in my early biking life. When, at fifteen, I decided that I was going to become a motorcycle journalist — of which there were about three at the time in all of Canada — it was she who admonished me to get an engineering degree first… “Just in case.” That bachelor of mechanical engineering got me my first job at Cycle Canada because they needed a technical editor.

Mom didn't bat an eyelash when half way through that third year I “took a year off to find myself” which is bike-speak for saving enough money to buy a 1978 Suzuki GS1000. Three years later she fronted me “first and last” so that I could ride that same GS to Toronto to take that aforementioned Cycle Canada job. And, four months after that, she saved said newfound dream job by lending me enough money for the industry’s first word processing computer — Radio Shack’s “Trash 80” TRS-80 — when it became painfully obvious that engineering school wasn’t much preparation for being able to type 80 words a minute without spelling errors. Like I said, mom was there the whole way.

Until — I’m guessing, by now, you all know where this is going — just recently. Norma Patricia Jeanne Booth-nee-O’Brien passed away this past January 19th. She was 86 years old.

My mother was the bedrock of our family, the accountant, the peacekeeper and, occasionally, when either my father or I were out of line — think apples falling from trees here for how tense that relationship could get — a damned strict boss. She was loved beyond measure — in her last 8 years in a nursing home, she never went a single day without someone visiting — she was respected in her work, welcomed in all the social arenas she chose to join and both travelled and lived beyond her humble beginnings. More satisfying to her, I suspect however, is that she also saw her children — let's pretend there has been some measure of success on these pages — reach even further. She is, not a single word of exaggeration, the reason I have been lucky enough to call myself a motojournalist these last 35 years.

And, as far as I know, she never ever once sat on a motorcycle.
 

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What an awesome tribute to your mother. You were blessed! Must have been her Irish roots.
 

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Great post about your Mother from a lucky son. She sounds like quite a Woman, she would be proud of you ....
 

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Very well said, David. Burying our parents is an astonishing experience, and it's easy to feel alone in grief. Lean into your friends, they all want to help.

At 18 I was too young to take the Class 6 license test without a parental signature. Against her emotions and preference, my mother took the time off work to go with me and sign on the dotted line. I sure hope that I thanked her profusely.
 

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But did she advise to you to bring an R5 into your bedroom over the winter? Jumping in here, I witnessed Mr Booth in his Uni years. To say he had a love of motorcycles doesn't quite describe it. He helped me time my RD 400 one day. First time for me working on the mystery end of an engine. Yes, your Mom must have been a very fine and steady woman to never have given up hope!! Sorry for your Loss David, nice story about how your Mom knew what her Son really was awe struck by and saw it through at Christmas time against the tide. Also that she saw the sense in giving you that electric box, that unleashed your career and gave you a job you don't plan on retiring from. Great that she had such support in her recent years.
 

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My Mom actually rode one for a few years. Dad got us both into it. Dad, is gone but Mom is still around and great as ever. ?
 

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I'm truly sorry for your loss Mr Booth. Thats a great story about a fabulous lady written by a lucky man. Hold your head high knowing she is just as proud of you as you are of her. Now we should remember to share all the hugs our arms can give to our own loved ones, friends OR family.
RIP to all moms that loved their sons.
 

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I'm sorry for your loss and as a Christian, please know I'm praying for your mother's soul & your comfort. You wrote a touching tribute to what sounds like a wonderful woman. She sounds like a scant few-of-a-kind.
 

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Sorry for your loss mate. She sounds like a great lady.
I lost my Mum last year, she was 94 and truly had, what we call in the Old Country, a good innings.
I do miss my Saturday morning phone chats with her.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
But did she advise to you to bring an R5 into your bedroom over the winter? Jumping in here, I witnessed Mr Booth in his Uni years. To say he had a love of motorcycles doesn't quite describe it. He helped me time my RD 400 one day. First time for me working on the mystery end of an engine. Yes, your Mom must have been a very fine and steady woman to never have given up hope!! Sorry for your Loss David, nice story about how your Mom knew what her Son really was awe struck by and saw it through at Christmas time against the tide. Also that she saw the sense in giving you that electric box, that unleashed your career and gave you a job you don't plan on retiring from. Great that she had such support in her recent years.
[/QUOTE

My God, I had hoped that all the witnesses of those carleton years were long gone. Jesus what I time. I remember in 1974 racing motorcycles through the tunnels that connected the university buildings. One guy on a trump crashed and before it stiopped it had climbed about 6 fest up the wells of the tunnel. No one believed us until we took them and sure as shooting, about five foot off the floor on the wall was the unmistakable imprint of a dunlop TT100 tire. Hope that RD400 ran well. My R5 had a picture of snoopy on one side of the gas tank and goofy on the other. But I had ported it and it was fast.

Jesus that's 45 or so years ago. Hope you are well.
 

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Thanks for sharing, and of course my condolences.
 

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It sure is. Makes me look forward to the future knowing how I hope to be getting there. Hopefully we all have lots of time and our minds stay clear. Cheers again to your Mom, our Moms and the great things they instil in us.
 

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Sorry for your loss, David.
Your mom sounds like a heck of a woman.
Can't say my mom was quite as supportive of my motorcycling ambitions. To her credit, though, she never banned me from having a motorcycle.
 
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