My first time Driving a Car – 68 ? 69

We took the old family cruiser out into the country to teach my older brother how to work a stick shift. And when I say ‘We’, I mean the whole family. Mom and I rode along for the adventure.

I watched from the back seat as my Dad struggled to teach him. I had to hang on to the front seatback to keep from being thrown back into the rear seat as he would engage the clutch. Then I would get shaken back and forth for a few seconds before being slammed into the back of the front seat as the car lurched to a stop. It was great fun.

This went on so long that my Mother began to heckle my Dad. When I chimed in my Dad put his foot down. “If you think it’s so easy YOU get up here and try!” WooHoo! I couldn’t get in that front seat fast enough!

I got right up against the steering wheel and scootched down until I could reach the pedals. I remember thinking how huge the steering wheel was. I gave it gas and let out the clutch. The car moved smoothly. I shifted into second gear. And that’s when I realized I had NO idea how to DRIVE. I’m not sure I could even see the road, well, the road ahead anyway. I could see the fence posts getting closer and further away in the side window – as my Dad turned the wheel one way and then the other as he was trying to reach across to get his foot on the brake pedal!

We managed to get stopped without doing any damage to anything, except maybe my Mother’s nerves. We all agreed that I should wait until I got older to try that again. As it turned out I never did get a Drivers License until I was 20 (after I got out of the Marine Corps).

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