Bicycles, Flowers, And Trains Analysis

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Bicycles, Flowers, and Trains:
Beneath the Surface in
Beloit, Wisconsin during the Early Twenty-first Century

By Paula F. Rose

The bicycle seat was definitely higher. Paula Rose had raised it a quarter inch each day, and the days and inches were starting to add up so that by now anyone could see the effect from a distance. “Prof. must feel it,” Paula said to nobody in particular in the voyeuristic gaggle of students around her. “But, look at him. He’s in a world of his own. He may not ever notice it.”

Paula’s audience smiled. They were spying on one of their professors, and it felt good.

Paula revealed her plan as a project in sociology. Her goal: change the form and improve the function of Prof. Winters’ beat up old three-speed
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Al

One evening on a walk with Grandpa, Jonas saw Ms. Lund ride up to her house on a bicycle. They were on opposite sides of the street, but Jonas was mesmerized and Grandpa had to restrain him from jaywalking for a closer look.

Grandpa should have thought of Doc’s house when Jonas went missing the next morning. The first sign of something wrong was when Anna’s sing-songy “Where is my Jonas?” got no answer. He regularly hid to tease her, but this time

after an unsuccessful search of the house, Anna and her family spread out across the neighborhood. Just when they were ready to dial 911, Jonas appeared.

“Where have you been? We were so worried. Don’t ever do that again. We looked everywhere. What have you been doing?” they said all at once.

“He was with that woman across the street,” Sven said.

Later that night when the boys were in bed together, Sven whispered to Jonas. “Early tomorrow morning go over to that house again and I’ll spy on you.”
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Black and white framed photos depicted commonly suspected spies Marlene Dietrich, Josephine Baker, and Julia Child. Persuasion techniques filled one display case; another held various modern applications of the Trojan Horse trick. Ms. Lund did most of the talking, but when Sven would ask a question, she would reply as if talking to a graduate student. He loved it, but after a long time looked at his watch and was shocked to realize that it was
10:30. The family would be looking for him. Just then they heard rapping on an outside door upstairs.

There was Beloit police chief Norm Jacobs, first in a queue that included
Mommy, Daddy, Jonas, Grandpa, and Grandma.

“The jig’s up,” the chief said with a smile. He knew about Al’s world and always kept it confidential. “What should I share with the Anderson family?” he was thinking. He said, “Sure is pretty around this house. Your flowers look great.”

Al smiled and pointed a waist high finger at Anna like a six-gun whipped from its holster. “It’s her doing. What a neighbor! It’s a pleasure to meet you in person, Mrs. Anderson.” Anna couldn’t speak, struck dumb with surprise and embarrassment.

Sven looked up at her and said, “I love you, Grandma.” Grandma thought, “Who is this

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