Little Red Stories
The Radio Flyer Wagon was so much a part of my life growing up. In the 1960's My mother would hold a talent show every summer with kids in the neighborhood to benefit the Jimmy Fund. We would use our wagon for refreshments and programs. She sent us to all the elderly complexes to get the elderly for the show. There would be about 30 kids and 50 elderly. We would sing and dance. I can't imagine how bad the show must have been but everyone had fun . We did this for about 10 years. The Radio Flyer wagon with us all the way.
My dad would scour garage sales and flea markets for used, rusty, beat up Radio Flyer wagons. He would bring them all home and we would get started. You see we ran a preschool with many low income or single parent families. These families were struggling to make ends meet, let alone afford a wagon for their kids. So we started collecting old ones and bringing them back to life. Our "new" wagons were used for injured kids in casts, disabled dogs, and for bringing big smiles to lots of families. My dad and I bonded over the wagons, as did the families who got them!
For the past three years I’ve purchased a Build a Gift Wagon for Babies to donate to a silent auction. I’ve had Radio Flyer include a teddy bear, blanket, bib and rubber duck in the wagon. The wagon and items come wrapped in clear cellophane with a beautiful, large bow. After I receive the wagon I add a children’s book about Chicago that I put in the front. The Radio Flyer Wagon always generates a lot of bids! It shows well and individuals purchase it for their child, grandchild, niece, nephew or friend. The silent auction that I donate to is for the Chicago Engineers Foundation. Every year they give $1,000 scholarships to deserving Chicago high school seniors who plan to study engineering in college. The auction helps to raise additional money for these scholarships. I plan on continuing to purchase the Radio Flyer Wagon, for donations and for my family and friends.
When i taught school, the children always would forget the lunches in the classroom. To solve that problem, one of my classroom dads redid his son’s wooden Radio Flyer wagon and donated it to the classroom. So for 18+ years that wonderful red wagon became our place to put students’ lunches when they entered the classroom in the morning. Then the “wagon master” would take it to the lunch room so all would have their food. I still have the wagon. It has gone through being played with by grandchildren, hauling garden items and groceries, pulling balls and play equipment around, etc. It has been refurbished another couple of times and is still going strong! LOVE THAT WAGON!
Our fire department (Alachua County Fire Rescue) visits the children in the local hospital on a monthly basis; we use a radio flyer wagon that is filled with goodies, that one of our fire fighters would purchase out of his own pocket. The fire fighters will walk from room to room just saying hello to the children and their family members and provide a fire hat and another little something special. I used to walk with them when they did this. I also used my personal radio flyer wagon, when we were canvasing neighborhoods post a home fire to deliver and install smoke alarms for free. I kept this old wagon in the back of my personal vehicle and one day, I was watching this homeless family with their children walking along a side walk and pulled over and gave them my wagon so that the kids could ride instead of walk. Now I have grandchildren of my own and I am looking to purchase another red wagon to pull them around in.