My first car by
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(14 Stories)

Prompted By My First Car

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My first car was a very large clunky and old used blue car with sticky seats that burned your thighs when you were driving on  hot sticky days in Houston.  I passed my test with the help of Derwin’s  teaching when we were dating and the help of a friend named Eric who helped me practice and lent me car his to take the driving test.  I had actually thought that Derwin was flirting when he would gently take my hand and put it on the shift of his maroon Volvo.

It was handy to have a car for the bright little cost of a couple of hundred dollars.  I hated driving it, I hated driving, but the car was a necessity as I was driving back and forth to the University of Houston to take classes in Social Work.  I think by that time Derwin and I were dating steadily.  Houston traffic was so horrific that I had time to meditate while waiting on the highway to drive to the after school nursery to pick up Jennifer, my oldest and only child at that time.

This car was my practice car and it is amazing that it lasted as long as it did.

Luckily, within about a year and a half (if I remember correctly) we sold it and moved to Scotland and lived just outside of a little town called Balerno which was a vacation town for people of the previous generation of Edinborough’s citizens.  Each home usually came with a name, I think ours was called Westmere…but it has been over 40 years since we lived there and it could have been something else.

My second car was a very used Mercedes, which I loved, but it didn’t quite survive my time in Scotland….that is another story, but needless to say I switched from a stick shift and drove a ford automatic eventually as I had to repeat the driving test in Edinborough about 6 times before I passed….and as you might guess doing well on a test on the wrong side of the road and very different requirements from the test in America was traumatic–

Putting hands on the wheel in such a way that they didn’t cross as you turned

Making a 3 pt. turn and remembering not to hit a curb and remembering to check the mirror at the correct time

And looking backward and forward at just the correct times as you backed around a corner going downhill and then up.

For a long time I felt very foolish for not being able to pass the driving test in Scotland right away, but later I met people who had given up on trying or were still working at it and may have failed 20 times or more.

The one easy part of the test was there was no parallel parking required.

And my second child was born on the back seat of my husband’s ford,  outside the doors of the hospital in Edinborough as my husband was running up and down the halls yelling for the doctor,  The car’s back door hung open  late on Sept 22 GMT, 1983.

Whew!

 

 

Profile photo of rosie rosie
born, lived, cried, appreciated, lost, found, lived, laughed, flew in my dreams,
taught others to fly in their dreams, became a telescope reflecting the stars,
dove to the depths of despair ,recovered and walked along the beach as the water escaped from the sea and erased my footprints.


Characterizations: funny, moving, right on!

Comments

  1. Profile photo of John Zussman John Zussman says:

    Your story illustrates how cars are catalysts of memories throughout our lives. I especially love your opening sentence, and I too remember those old cars with dark vinyl seats, before the days of tinted windows, that would burn your thighs.

  2. Profile photo of Susan Susan says:

    To help us navigate driving a rental in Scotland, my kids would holler “left is good!” from the back seat at intersections. Don’t wait for a prompt…share the story of giving birth in the back seat of a car!! Can’t wait to hear that tale.

  3. Profile photo of rosie rosie says:

    Thank you John…there are a few things I left out about learning to drive, but sometimes on here i worry about being too revealing…still you both seem to be cut of the same cloth in that you can write frankly and well. Susan,
    it was extremely hilarious.
    As you know Scotland is filled with roundabouts and those were my main nemesis in learning to drive there. I got turned around once and had to face down a bus and several angry drivers while going up a one way street while trying to park going the wrong direction. I and my daughter were so exhausted after this, that we went and bought a candy bar. I’ll share the car story, it is hilarious…hope that comes across.

    Again, thank you both.

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