To celebrate Madi’s 16th Birthday she is having a Road Trip hop and I wouldn’t miss it for nothin’ because I love Madi and Mom and I LOVE cars! Both my parents were car lovers so how would I miss getting the car loving gene? We are to tell a story about learning to drive… if our parents taught us, if we went the driver’s ed route, and the fun or not so fun things that might have happened. So I am going to tell the story about learning to drive and the day I took my drivers license test. Here it is Madi and Mom… the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. It got pretty ugly.
I wasn’t much interested in learning to drive. Most of my friends had their license but I was more interested in horsing around… literally. I preferred the real kind of horse power instead of the engine under the hood kind. And truthfully, I was scared to death to have my Dad teach me to drive. He was a cool Dad but he didn’t have a lot of patience. Our first learning to drive session was our last after driving to the parking lot at my high school and tooling around there briefly and driving back home. He threw open the back door and yelled to my Mom to call the drivers ed guy you had to pay to get legally on the road. Did I mention my Dad was a bit short on patience?
So, I did the driving lessons with a man in our tiny town. Our private Catholic high school didn’t offer drivers ed but it did have morning mass where you could pray that you would pass your drivers test. I didn’t pray hard enough. Took the first few lessons in the instructor’s car, you know, where he had a dual set of controls so there weren’t any mishaps. And then you drove the car you were going to use for the test. My dad drove a 1967 Chevy Impala, it was a tank, and my Mom had a little white Ford Falcon convertible with red seats… it was sweet. My Dad went out and traded it on a 1966 green Mustang but that’s a whole other story… my Mom was inconsolable. I finished out the driving lessons in the little convertible and all was good. I hit the I55 highway to St. Louis with my Dad and he declared me a damn good driver… said I drove like a man! No sissy girly driving for his daughter.
The day of the test he wanted me to take the TANK… what the heck? He drove me there and he parked on the street on a slight decline and turned the wheels into the curb. He had NEVER done that before but he had heard a whole lot about turning the front wheels into the curb on hills for the past few weeks. Into the license office we went and I got a nice police guy with a buzz cut like you would have expected. I was not then and am not now good at any kind of test so I was terrified, intimidated, and my Dad was standing there with his hands in his pant’s pockets rocking back and forth in his shiny wingtips. I just wanted him to go get a coffee and a couple of eggs over easy… anywhere else but where I was going to be taking my test.
Buzz Cut slid into the passenger seat and I reluctantly got in the driver’s seat. There were some preliminary instructions and questions and then he told me to start her up. I did… that went well. Put the car in drive, it was an automatic on the floor, and gave the gas pedal a little nudge. The car would not move forward. Buzz Cut said to give it a little more gas and so I did. This is where it got ugly. I gave it too much gas, jumped the curb, and hit the parking meter… I mean hit the parking meter hard enough that it was listing quite a bit. I was mortified, in shock, and my Dad was running towards his beloved gold Impala. Buzz Cut said that was it for me and that I might like to come back and try again on another day in six months… YEAH, on another day when my Dad hadn’t cut the tires to the curb and in the sweet little car of my Mom’s that I knew like the back of my hand. I didn’t talk to my Dad for a week and I didn’t go back for my drivers license for a year.
I passed my test with flying colors a year later, maybe less than year. My girlfriends were all sympathetic, no snickering, at least that I know of. Well, there was one girlfriend that laughed and made me feel miserable but she isn’t a friend anymore. CH says I still drive like a guy… Hey, I think I drive like a woman who knows cars. I love a manual four on the floor but both our vehicles now are automatics. I had a jeep for a short time a few years back and that industrial sized shift and clutch put my back out. Sent that to the used car lot! I still love cars, I love to drive… fast, with the radio up. And I never, NEVER cut my front wheels to the curb even if I am parking on a mountain. When I put a car in park that car better dang well stay in park!
Participating in ROAD TRIP for Madi’s 16th Birthday!
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Happy 16th Birthday, Madi!