Friday, June 7, 2013

Road Trip

Too hot to do much of anything else yesterday, I took a little trip down memory lane.  I went by car.  My dad taught me to drive in what must have been a 1952 two-door Chevy.  He always drove a Chevrolet and Mother always had a late-model Buick.  I was probably fourteen.  Kids in my area practiced their new driving skills in the huge parking lot at Santa Anita Racetrack during the off season.  Daddy was not known as a patient man, but he stuck with it as I learned the "H" pattern of the gearshift on the steering column and coordination of clutch, brake, and gas.  Starting and stopping and parallel parking over and over again.  (I don't know why I needed parallel parking as our little town still had diagonal parking on the main street then.)  As long ago as that was, even now I can hear the terror in his voice, "You're turning too fast!  Slow down!  You're going to turn the car over!"  There was one lesson I learned by example only.  If I heard it once, I heard a hundred times how my sister, learning to drive, had driven over a glass bottle and blew a tire back in the day when tires were thin and motorists carried patches to fix them.  I guess she got what-for that wouldn't quit.  To this day, I do not drive over anything in the road.

Daddy taught me the mechanics and safety of driving.  Mother taught me the fun.  It sounds perfectly crazy now, but with a long stretch ahead coming down a mountain or hillside, she'd turn off the engine and we'd see how far we could coast.  Speed limits were never an issue for her; she ignored them.  Much, much later, she would pile my sister's kids in her Volkswagen Bug, put the car in reverse and go backwards in tight circles until those kids were howling with laughter.  Some of Mother's lessons were of the what-not-to-do type.  However, before I got my license she and I took a road trip to Canada and I drove almost all the way.  It was hands-on experience in all types of terrain that has stood me in good stead all these years.  Knock on wood, my driving record is clean. 

Back at Farview after that mental excursion, I dragged Bessie's wading pool out of the barn, set it up on the deck and filled it for her.  We're due for triple-digit weather this weekend and she'll need it.


Kathryn said...

I love a Road Trip - thanks for sharing yours with me. I still remember when my mom was trying to tell me about the "H" on our '52 Ford, (One grandmother always drove a Ford and the other grandparents liked Pontiacs.) and I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out what she was talking about, since the gear shift was on the steering column and the H sat at a jaunty angle, unlike those of the Volkswagen that were on the floor and you were looking down at the pattern. But I eventually got it - with plenty of jerky "take-offs" in the early days. Road Trips are fun - both kinds. Thanks for the memories - yours and mine!

Kathryn said...

While my dad was reading the blog he said, "Did you tell her that Santa Anita is where I taught your mother to drive??" Well...since I had no idea...I did I know. (And I bet that LOTS of San Gabriel Valley people learned to drive in that parking lot!!)