The Veterans at the convention at Swan Lake, NY really enjoyed our little vehicles. Many had the conventional 4 small wheel electric chairs which worked fine most of the time for them, but the Happy Wanderer allowed them to travel away from the paved surface onto the wet or dry grass, through gravel and even on the winding up-down dirt paths. They said it was a treat to have a personal vehicle that allowed this type of freedom. But I scarfed the best treat, being invited to dance with a muscle armed Vet in a manual wheelchair who controlled it better than I did my feet. Believe it or not, we jitterbugged. One of my most memorable dances. Sales improved as the Veteran’s Administration began paying for them. Their disabilities and suggestions provided a number of changes that helped improve the product.
It was the mid to late ’70s. Advertising was very expensive. We were still novices at some forms of marketing and still doing bike shows. A man from Italy came to the NYC show and said he was going to do one of the biggest bike shows in the world. He was purchasing a booth in the Italian Bike show. Since there were so many bikes in Europe and attendees at this show, maybe we’d like to share booth with him and one other. We had a number of inquires from Europe and had done no advertising there so thought we’d see what possibilities existed without paying full price for an expensive booth. Can’t remember which one of us was smart enough to only take two kits over, one for bike and one for trike. Probably me, as I am the lazy one of this duo. Four boxes of literature accompanied us. Very heavy luggage. On arrival, we located our pensione and slept comfortably with much anticipation. An early morning brought us to the breakfast table where we sat with a German, a Japanese, a Russian painter who had a leg in a cast having been hit by a small car, and the cook. The meal consisted of a danish, a brioche and some goat’s milk (I hope). We hurried to bus stop and caught the bus to the show lugging 1/2 of our paraphernalia. We found “our” booth, which was a desk sized little square laden with brochures of every kind. One could not stand in our booth as the elephantine pile of literature was sandwiched in between 20 other “booths” all full of multi-language brochures.
Our name had been hastily printed with a marker pen among the Menu of voluminous treats.
My grandmother had pounded into my head that the true character of person is revealed in how well they handle adversity. JP looked disappointed but waited until I was finished reciting every expletive I could think of or make up, then said, “We are in Italy, let’s see the country.” I was glad he didn’t drown!