A Tale of a Long-Lost Bicycle Swallowed by a Tree

By Tereza Antonova

Sometimes, the little lies we tell come back at us at the most unexpected moments. We feel them lurking in the dark, waiting for the right moment to betray us and expose themselves. Usually, we expect them to do so within weeks or months of their creation. But what if they catch up with us even later, at a time when we had already forgotten all about our cover story?

Don Puz grew up with his parents in Vashon Island, Washington. In 1954, a house fire took away his father and he and his mother had to move to another house and start over. The local community organised a collection to help the Puz family recover from the material loss, which was when the circle of lies was set in motion.

Going through the donated items, the family discovered a child’s bicycle. A beautiful gift, right? Well, while the neighbours surely had the best intentions, little Don found the gift somewhat undesirable.

Bicycle in a Tree
Bicycle in a tree on Vashon Island, WA

Some accounts of the story say Don didn’t like the bike because it was too girly, others describe weird handlebars and a tricycle shape. Whatever the reasons, Don truly didn’t fancy the bike, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise that soon after receiving the unwanted gift, he ‘accidentally forgot’ the two-wheeled shame in the woods, claiming it impossible to find.

Luckily for Don, Mrs Puz didn’t send her son back to the woods with the task of not returning before finding his bike. Soon, the whole incident was forgotten and life went on. The big revelation only came in 2012, when Mrs Puz turned 99. Reading the newspapers, she stumbled on a story about a bicycle eaten by a tree. The picture reminded her of an old bicycle her son once lost.

Paying a visit to the place, Mrs Puz and her son were immediately sure that what they saw was Don’s old bicycle. With a little help of 50 years, the tree adopted the two-wheeled iron object, grew around it and even lifted it up on its way to the sky, but there was no doubt about its origin. Did Don eventually grow to like it? Not really. But the scenery is fascinating, and if you ever happen to be in Vashon Island, make sure to stop by!