This post is part of Throwback Thursday Memory BlogHop. Click on the link to read about it and join in on the fun.
It was not until I started writing I remembered I had already written this story on my blog, back in March of this year. I will link to those two posts at the end, and will post an abbreviated version for Throwback Thursday today. (I continue to think perhaps I’ve already written everything I have to say as evidenced by this oversight!)
My mother did not get her driver’s license until I was in school which surprised me because she was fiercely independent. I am sure this is why she pushed me so hard to get my license when I was in high school although her efforts did not succeed.
I took a driver’s education class given at my junior high school when I turned fifteen or sixteen. The class was after school taught by one of the science teachers. When it came to the driving part of the class, there were three students in the car plus our instructor. We did not travel on the “freeways” but stuck to the secondary roads in and around our school. I was a decent driver and the only one in my car that nailed parallel parking the first time out.
My mom had to force me to drive unlike my siblings who had pestered her constantly for the keys, and begged her to let them drive. I was afraid of the power. I was afraid of the huge tractor-trailer trucks that dominated the roadways in our industrial town. I had no problem passing the written test for my permit, but I had no desire to get my license to drive.
”There’s a huge truck coming up the other side of that hill. You better get over.” This was often the type of dialogue when I drove with my mother. Mom was trying to get me to anticipate what I could not yet see – a good lesson that was lost on me. Most of the time there was nothing approaching on the other side of the hill.
One evening I was out with my dad and he tossed me the keys and told me to go move the car. I do not remember why, but I do remember being nervous. I had my permit, of course, but no license. There was sludgy, dirty snow on the side street where the car was parked. I put the keys in the ignition, put the car in reverse and CRUNCH, I hit something. I realized I had struck a street sign and pushed it partially over. I quickly put the car back in drive, got it moved and never ever mentioned it to my father. I had seen his ire when my brother drove the car home on the rim after the tire had gone flat. I had also seen him get angry when my sister scratched the entire side of the car on some bushes. Nope, I figured he did not need to know. After all, he should never have handed an unlicensed driver the keys to my way of thinking.
When mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer, getting a driver’s license seemed unimportant. My friends and boyfriends took me anywhere I wanted to go.
After graduation I joined the Air Force, got married and had two children before the idea of getting a driver’s license would come up again. I was in Alaska and the roads were rather uncluttered and if I recall I did not need to parallel park so I felt pretty comfortable taking the test. Driving was another thing altogether. The details of that time are in Part 1 and 2 of my prior story linked below.
Links to my prior posts on learning to drive: