The moped I lusted for but never got

The moped I lusted for but never got

By Chuck Woodbury
ROADSIDE JOURNAL
Never in my semi-long life have I ever wanted anything as badly as I wanted this moped. Never.

It showed up in the Sears Holiday Catalog back in the 1950s.

When I was a really little kid I didn’t pay much attention to it. I was too busy in the toy section, where I could spend hours checking out electric trains. Maybe Santa would bring me one. It happened a couple of times — a Marx passenger train when I was 5, and then an American Flyer Hartford and New Haven passenger train when I was about 10. My mother later sold the Marx train, or maybe she gave it away. I saw it in an antique store 20 years ago for $250. 

WHEN I GOT A LITTLE OLDER, maybe 12 or so, I began dreaming of driving, My train fascination was over. Now, it was the moped — the one that occupied the better part of a page in the Sears Catalog. It was beyond wonderful. I lusted for it — really, really bad! I could envision myself cruising down the road, Joe Cool! Alas, my $1 a week allowance wasn’t getting me there after kid expenses like buying root beer and red licorice at Fred’s Market. My parents weren’t enthusiastic about the moped. I’m telling you, it was hard to lust for that each Christmas and come up empty!

Even now, if I close my eyes and think about that moped, I can feel the same warm and fuzzy feeling that gushed through me back then. I can’t explain it. You probably know.

A Yamahopper

When I was about 40 I bought a small Yamahopper motorcycle. It was basically a moped without pedals. I carried it on the back of my motorhome. One day, driving in the right lane of an Interstate, I noticed a car slowly passing by, barely creeping ahead. A little boy in the back seat stared at me. I knew exactly what he was thinking: He had seen the Yamahopper! I saw the yearning in his eyes … “If only.” I felt his pain.

I never got the moped. But to this day, it remains the most lusted thing I wanted, at least until I turned 18 when major testosterone kicked in and life was all about finding a woman.

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10 thoughts on “The moped I lusted for but never got

  1. Kenny

    This brings back memories for me, too, but not about the mo-ped. For some reason, back in about 1959, I just KNEW that Santa was bringing me a banjo, of all things. Never happened.

  2. Rob Kidder & Arlene Woodr

    I was lucky enough to buy a Honda 50 when I was 15 after working all summer in 1962. I loved that trail bike. With the big sprocket engaged I swore you could climb a tree.

  3. Edie

    I love the article, and I love the comments. Memories make life worth living!

  4. Alpenliter

    When my car broke down in the 70s, my boss lent me one of his Honda 90s. I loved that thing so much I didn’t want my car anymore, but the reality of Montana winters required returning it. I’m. 70 now and still want one!

  5. Jon York

    I saw a Moped in an RV park in Roswell, NM the other day. Brought back memories. It was perfectly restored.

  6. George Paris

    This story is like reading a portion of my childhood. I would bicycle to the Sears store, touch, sit on and dream of having for my own. Like you, my allowance was meager. So, by the time my finances from paper route and gardening jobs reached $50 I bought an old Dodge car. The car was better for rainy days and hot nights with girls. However, every time I see a reference to the Sears Moped my recall is stirred. Thanks for the memories.

  7. russell tipton

    yes, this was the dream vehicle of my youth

  8. Warren

    I had this exact mo-ped. It was a 1957 model that I bought used for $50. Did get quite a bit of experience taking the carb apart to clean it on a regular basis.

  9. Calvin Rittenhouse

    I came very close to buying a moped this month. I am car-free at present, and there’s a lot to like about mopeds. I wound up with an e-bike that I can take on my travels in my still-in-the-future 4-wheel vehicle.

  10. Roger

    This brings back fond memories of my Dad’s 1952 Whizzer Pacemaker “700” motorized bicycle that I got to ride as a teenager in the early 60’s. Had to pedal it to get started but when that little motor started, it felt like flying!

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