If there is one thing that symbolizes the joy, the enthusiasm, the gusto, of Tommy’s early childhood, it would have to be his Big Wheel. Later, this feeling evolved and matured, of course, became more subtle and at the same time kaleidoscopic in its variety and intensity as Tommy’s interests expanded. But at age 5, those more mature enthusiasms were still in the future, and his Big Wheel was where it was at.
It seems appropriate that the very first Big Wheel was produced in the year of Tommy’s birth, 1969. By the time Tommy was old enough to ride one, the Big Wheel had become an indelible fixture in the lives — and eventually the memories — of the (mainly) males of Tommy’s generation, who are now in their forties. Many of these men continue to cultivate a deep nostalgia for this rugged tricycle of their youth. Although it was almost entirely made out of plastic, the Big Wheel was fast, durable, and a lot of fun to ride.
The nostalgic power of the Big Wheel is so strong among Generation X-ers that a company is now producing a version of it for these 40-something adults, the so-called High Roller.
If I close my eyes, I can almost hear the sound of Tommy doing slides and brodies as he raced back and forth on Breeze Ave. and the Boardwalk in the 1970s.