One of America’s iconic children’s toys is the red Radio Flyer wagon. Designed and handmade in 1917 by an Italian immigrant named Antonio Pasin. The first version was made of wood and he named it the Liberty Coaster in honor of the statue that welcomed him to America.
Starting the summer before last, just before we went “Back East” to vacation with my family, we had noticed that Morgan was having difficulty walking. Normal outings were taking twice as long, and we needed more rest stops. This made our visit more challenging as our young and active nieces wanted Morgan to be part of all our activities. It was here that I first wondered if I could teach Morgan to ride in the girls’ Radio Flyer wagon which they generously offered to us.
When vacationing on Cape Cod, we stay at the Provincetown Inn, which is a fair distance from Joe’s, our favorite coffee shop near the center of town. Every morning we would wake up early and walk with Morgan to Joe’s in order to secure one of the coveted outside tables. The only way we would make it on time this year with Morgan’s new difficulty walking was by having him ride in our nieces’ wagon.
James wasn’t convinced that Morgan would take to it. But I knew better. All we had to do was cushion it with his favorite blanket and he’d love it. It’s true the first time we put Morgan in the wagon he looked around with a puzzled expression of concern. But by the second ride our little Prince was wondering why we had waited so long to haul him around in it. Of course, all the attention he got from admirers riding down Commercial Street added to his enjoyment.
We didn’t know it at the time but teaching Morgan to ride in a wagon has made it possible for us to extend our time with him. When he collapsed in February and could barely move, we thought it was the end. However, it became evident that Morgan wasn’t ready to cross over the bridge quite yet. I knew it was time to purchase for Morgan his very own Radio Flyer wagon. And riding around in it seems to have given him a new lease on life.
When everything shut down in March, including the local golf course, we were able to take him on long invigorating wagon-walks on the golf cart paths with nobody around us. It was like having your very own private park. The wagon-walks have been beneficial for all of our spirits in these challenging times.
Morgan now wakes us up every morning at six am with a loud bark, ready for his wagon adventure. We are grateful to Antonio Pasin for creating what is now a vital part of our life. Can you believe that the red Radio Flyer wagon is now over a hundred years old? May we all enjoy such a long productive life and bring joy to children and child-like people across the world.;