My Cousin Dewey's Suzuki: Remembering the One that Got Away


Cousin Dewey Stephens on his 50cc 1966 Suzuki M15.

Mom had lots of brothers and sisters, which meant I had lots of cousins. Such an abundance of cousins made for lively entertainment and vital opportunities for mischief when family got together. Indeed, it was rare for a visit involving cousins not to end in some sort of parental uproar or an ER visit. (Maybe one day I’ll share details on the “hatchet” incident.)

This story involves my cousin Dewey, a Suzuki, and my first ride on a motorcycle.

So what were you doing in 1966? I was a skinny 13-year-old kid living out in the farmland fringes of Wake County, North Carolina, desperately wishing that I was 16 with a driver’s license. Cousin Dewey, who lived 10 miles farther out in the sticks than I did, was about to turn 16.

Dewey and I both listened to the same radio station, the mighty WKIX 850 AM based in the Capital city of Raleigh. “KIX” was 10,000 watts of Awesome … at least until they cut the transmitter’s power back every evening. We country kids seriously envied the Raleigh city kids because they could hear their favorite DJs and pop songs well into the night.

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