Wicked Wednesday — Our History — Driving

We are celebrating Women’s History Month by sharing bits of our history.  This week we are talking about our history with driving. Wickeds, answer the following questions:

1. Who taught you to drive?

Liz: My father opened a driving school a few years before I got my license. So…my dad taught me to drive. And my mother too. I have to admit her driving style – fast – suited me much more than his snail’s pace…

Jessie: Both of my parents taught me but my father was more involved. And, I went to a driving school for lessons and practice hours.

Edith/Maddie: I guess it’s a trend: my dad taught high school drivers’ training, so he taught all of us, starting in the Santa Anita race track parking lot in the off season (I’m a southern Californian and it was in the next town). Nothing to run into!

Julie: The first time I ever drove was when the instructor picked me up. We went to downtown Annapolis on a Saturday. Yikes! After that my parents would drive with me to build up my hours. My dad was much better than my mother, who would grab the door handle and suck in her breath a lot.

Barb: Both my parents taught me to drive, but mostly my dad.

Sherry: My dad taught me. We also had driver’s ed at school which was amazing. Classroom time, car time, and simulators. We got into machines that looked like the driver’s side of a car and would watch a movie screen. We had to react and steer with what was going on on the screen. They were cool.

2. Did you want to learn or were you reluctant?

Liz: I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel!

Jessie: Like Liz, I really wanted to learn!

Edith/Maddie: Me too! Couldn’t wait. At the time you couldn’t go anywhere in So Cal without a car.

Julie: Freedom! I couldn’t wait.

Barb: As a younger teenager I’d adapted to walking or biking pretty much anywhere I wanted to go. And there was always the bus. So I don’t remember caring much one way or the other. It was a normal rite of passage so I did it.

Sherry: Like Barb, we had a bus system but I couldn’t wait to drive!

3. What car did you learn in?

Liz: My parents both had Chevys at the time and my dad had a special one for the driving school. So I drove a Chevy wagon, and two boring old four-door sedans.

Jessie: I think a Subaru was what I first drove. Then I learned to drive stick on a Ford Tempo. We taught all of our kids to drive a manual as well.

Edith/Maddie: A stick shift (of course) VW bug. Like Jessie, I also taught both my sons in a manual.

Julie: I never learned to drive a manual, wish I had. I learned on a Town & Country station wagon, that was HUGE. Wood on the sides. I was practicing parallel parking the night before my test and it wouldn’t turn in. I went into the house weeping. My father came out, and the power steering fluid was leaking. So I got to take the test in his Granada.

Barb: Julie, at least you have power steering! In my day…grump, grump, grump. I learned in a bright red Ford Fairlane with a white top. Very snazzy.

Sherry: I mostly drove our 65 Rambler which got nicknamed at some point Rodney the Rambler. I’ve driven a manual a couple of times but I’m terrible at it. TERRIBLE!

4. Do you remember the very first time you drove?

Liz: Yes – it was before I was supposed to! My mother would let me practice a little on our street (which at the time had a very low population of residents) so I was ready to go when it was time to get my permit.

Jessie: I do. What I remember most was the intense amount of concentration I felt. It was a completely different feeling than any other skills I could remember learning.

Edith/Maddie: I’m not sure I remember, although I remember I loved it.

Julie: As I mentioned, it was with the instructor! Terrifying, but thrilling.

Barb: When I was thirteen or so my grandfather took me out on the farms roads in the potato farms around their house in Water Mill, Long Island. It was thrilling!

Sherry: It was a my grandparents’ farm. From there house to the road was about a 1uarter to half mile. My dad let me drive us in our green Ford Torino. My dad kept saying, “Slow down, slow down.” And I responded, “My foots off the gas.” Yes, I’d forgotten about the brakes.

5. How old were you?

Liz: 16-ish.

Jessie: Fifteen and a half.

Edith/Maddie: I would have been fifteen and a half, too, and got my license on my sixteenth birthday.

Julie: 16ish.

Barb: I was 16 when I got my license, too. Right on schedule. Such an orderly little life.

Sherry: In Iowa you could get your learner’s permit at 14 (maybe you still can) so that’s when I first drove. And then I got my license at 16.

Readers: Answer the questions!

30 Thoughts

  1. 1. Who taught you to drive?
    A driving school

    2. Did you want to learn or were you reluctant?
    I did.

    3. What car did you learn in?
    I have no idea

    4. Do you remember the very first time you drove?
    if you mean after I passed the test, yes, two cars hit the car I was driving. That was it for me and haven’t driven since.

    5. How old were you?
    In my twenties

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  2. 1. Both parents, but Dad did most of the practice. I didn’t like driving with Mom – she did the grab the door, suck in her breath and stomp the phantom brake too much. Oh, and Sherry – we had driver’s ed too. I remember those simulators!

    2. Absolutely!

    3. An ’86 Chevy Caprice station wagon and an ’86 Chevy Caprice sedan. Tanks, both of them. I took my test in the wagon. I know I muffed the parallel parking (in between two snow backs since it was December and not many cars were parked on the street – yes, no parking between cones), but the instructor passed me anyway. I think he figured I’d never attempt parallel parking in that beast again and he was right.

    4. I don’t think I drove before I got my permit. I remember doing loops in an abandoned parking lot to get the feel of the car.

    5. I was 15. “Back in the day,” you could get your permit at 15. If you took driver’s ed in school (which I did) you could get a “regular” license at 15 1/2. I was one of the first in my grade to have an unrestricted license (meaning I could drive at all hours) – suddenly I was a lot more popular, especially with a car that could seat 9. 🙂

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  3. I was 16 and I learned to drive first in a Studebaker Lark (drove like a tank and was stick) but my mother got a new car, a Chevy Nova convertible, before I took my test, so I took my test in that since it was automatic and much easier to drive. I learned in the grocery store parking lot on Sundays (everything was closed) and my mother mostly taught me. My dad tried but he had zero patience. I don’t remember the first time I drove, but I was ready!

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  4. LOL – what a trip down memory lane!

    Who taught you to drive – It was a family effort. By the time I got behind the wheel of the family car, I’d driven Farmall tractors on my godfather’s farm, a model T Ford that my brother bought when he was in high school (there’s 9 years between us) and for one glorious moment, a Rheingold beer truck that needed double clutching. Again, courtesy of my brother who thought it would be hilarious – I think I was 11 or 12. For the real lessons, my Dad. Who was a wonderful teacher.

    Did you want to learn – Yes, the sooner the better. It was the 1960s.

    What car did you learn in – Well, the Farmall, the Model T, we won’t count the beer truck – and a 1962 Ford Thunderbird – it was huge with swivel seats. We called it the Black Bomb. I couldn’t use it for my test because it had a center console. I borrowed my neighbor’s Chevy Corvair for the test.

    Do you remember the first time you drove – Yes – on the farm in a tractor.

    How old were you – The tractors were constants, I don’t remember how old I was, I remember bouncing a lot and learning to manipulate the levers and the clutch. The Model T I was 8 or 9. I was 16 when I got my license.

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      1. I admit it was fun. I always say being raised in with all boys is like being raised by wolves. I’m sure my mother had a lot of OMG moments – when she discovered them. 🙂

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  5. Although I took drivers education in school, it was my Dad that actually taught me to drive. I had a male chauvinist teacher that help us girls in class very little. Sad, but true.

    I was excited about learning to drive and scared at the same time.

    I vividly remember both times I first drove. One was with my Dad in an automatic car. The second was with my boyfriend in his standard mustang. I still look back and think how thoughtful, kind and nuts he was to let me grind his gears as I took the wheel the first time.

    Believe it or not, I was 14 when I learned to drive and got my driver’s license. That was the legal age at the time in Arkansas.

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  6. I got my license when I was 16. We had mandatory drivers training in my high school which was horrible. My mom had an Oldsmobile 88 so that’s what I learned to drive on. In? On. First solo trip, I hit a car which was stopped for no reason at all in the middle of a country backroad. Mother turned colors when she found out.

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    1. Oh, wow, Keenan! That is wild. Our mandatory drivers training was great. Well, now that I think about it, I was always scared when the other kids drove. I think there were four of us in the car. I was the only one who’d driven before.

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  7. 1. Who taught you to drive?

    I did a little driving in parking lots before I went to a driving school. After that, it was both of my parents, but more Mom than Dad since I was home schooled at the time, so when I went to drive, it was usually Mom who was around.

    2. Did you want to learn or were you reluctant?

    I was reluctant. It was kind of scary, and at the time I didn’t feel the need to learn to drive.

    3. What car did you learn in?

    73 Datsun station wagon by parents had owned longer than I’d been alive. It was a stick, although I haven’t driving a manual transmission in years, so I’m rusty. I still remember jerking the car around the parking lot until I figured out I didn’t have to release the clutch all at once but could ease off it as I pushed down on the gas.

    4. Do you remember the very first time you drove?

    In a parking lot and it lead to the jerking I was talking about.

    5. How old were you?

    Just over 16. I didn’t get my license until I was 17. As I said, I was reluctant.

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  8. Oh my! Good stories! I had multiple people teaching me and none were very good at it. Thank goodness for the Driving class at school! While on my Learner’s Permit, the brakes died! What a way to learn to slow down in traffic using the slower gear and the emergency brake and praying for a green light at the intersection! Greenlight happened and there was a service station across the intersection! I was 17 and learned in an old Chevy Impala and a Mercury of some sort. Passed the driver’s test on summer vacation and got to drive around Old Orchard Beach, Maine for a few days!

    As a mom, I got to teach my kids! Oh my!

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  9. My first driving experience was with my Dad out on some property he owned and raised cattle on. He was teaching me in an old pickup truck that was manual transmission with the gearshift in the steering wheel. It did not go well, and after almost running over a bunch of cows and hearing lots of colorful language from my Dad, I decided I would have to go through life without driving. Thankfully, my next driving experience was with my Mom in our old station wagon, and it went great and later I even made 100 on my driving test ~

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  10. My grandfather was the sexton at the Catholic cemetery in the Ohio town where I grew up, Hamilton. Every one of us grandkids were taught to drive by being made to do so in reverse among the winding, slightly hilly lanes in the cemetery. My uncles taught my older boy cousins, and they taught me. Later, when I learned to drive a stick, my boyfriend drove my brand new car to a high school parking lot, and I drove around and around, up and down the hills, to learn to shift without stalling.

    We had no car when I was growing up, so driving was not really on my radar until college, and even then I could get by riding the bus and cadging rides. It wasn’t until I was married and a new mom that I really needed to be able to drive. My first husband was a cop, so he coached me enough to pass the test. Which was nerve-wracking! Having a cop, and one who was very critical, sitting next to me was super stressful. We had a 1960 Chevy (Belair, I think), and that’s the boat I learned to parallel park.

    I was much kinder to my own three daughters when I taught them to drive! They all learned on a manual transmission, too.

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  11. My parents were older and wanted to make sure I learned as much as possible about being independent at a young age. I drove a bit with my mom from the time I was 14. I went to a very good driving school and the classes happened to be taught by my HS typing teacher. So I felt comfortable right from the start. I really learned to drive in whatever the school’s compact car was. Daddy has a stick shift, so I practiced in mom’s “boat”, Ford LTD. I took an extra driving class just to learn to parallel park it. Passed with flying colors. My parents were as eager for me to learn as I was. They were tired of driving me everywhere. Right after I got my license, daddy bought a 1964 automatic Ford Falcon and I was a free bird. Had to teach myself to drive a stick shift after I got married and our first car was a stick shift. Didn’t do too badly after a few jerky rides. 🤪

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  12. Both my parents taught me but mostly my dad. I started shortly before turning 14 in our 1990s Dodge Dynasty. Got my learner’s permit at 14, license at 16.

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  13. Both my parents taught me to drive, and I was super eager to learn! Unfortunately, I had a winter birthday in the north and was nervous to spend too much time driving in ice and snow, so it took me a few months (and one failed test) to get my license after I turned 16. Like Jessie, I learned on a manual Ford Tempo and at the time I hated it – thanks to all the places I had to stop and go on a hill – but now, I’m glad I can drive a stick.

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  14. Hi…my daughter taught me to drive…she was just 16 and as soon as she got her license it was my turn!!!… She was super patient but I was a slow learner and we almost disinherited each other….!!! But all’s well that ends well and I’ve been driving over 40 years and neither of us have ever been cited…

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