When I was very young, before I even started school, I had a friend named Gopher. He was just a year older than me so we often played together during the day when the other kids in the neighborhood were at school. Gopher’s parents ran the store across from my paternal Grandmother’s house, and they lived behind it. Gopher had a pedal car. It was a bright red fire truck with a bell and everything. We used to ride up and down the dirt road between the store and my Grandmother’s for hours. He would drive and I would ring the bell.
One day I decided I wanted to drive it. Gopher said no that only boys can drive fire trucks. Being a bossy girl and a budding feminist, I did not take no for an answer. What ensued was a major knock down drag out hair pulling, pinching, and kicking fight like only two pre-schoolers could have right there in the middle of the dirt road. I gave Gopher a good wallop in the face with my doll and I guess, I caught him just right because blood starting pouring out of his nose. By this time my Grandmother and Gopher’s mother were there trying to pull us apart. They wanted to know what on earth had got into use fighting like that. When I told them what Gopher had said about only boys can drive fire trucks, his mother asked me if I had ever seen a girl who was a fireman. Being the 60’s, of course, I had not. So, there it was, his mother agreed with him that only boys can drive fire trucks. I was hopping mad.
This was the first time I realized that boys could do things that girls were not allowed to do and it was so not fair. My mom agreed and so her and my maternal Grandfather bought me a tricycle which was way cooler than that stupid old fire truck because I could go in the grass and not get stuck.
True story. I even used a picture of me on that tricycle to celebrate when I turned 50.