Monday, November 11, 2013

Mother learning to drive

I recall Mother driving home from town to the farm once when my father was very drunk. I think he still changed the gears with her steering and operating the pedals. I guess she understood the rudiments of driving. By the age of about twelve I was the one who drove home some 20 miles when Father was drunk.

At some point Father decided Mother should learn to drive. He gave her a driving lesson.  We had not moved when she immediately snapped the handbrake handle off. She held it up and with a fit of the giggles she asked Father if it was important. We kids in the back seat were hysterical with laughter.

'Sis, why are you pulling over into the gravel at the side of the road when you need to turn right? Stay in the middle of the road.'

'There is a car behind me Wal, I will let him pass and then I will turn.'

The engine revved and the clutch was abruptly released and with a spray of gravel and billowing dust, around the corner we went. I think that was Mother's last attempt at driving. The car was like this, an HR Holden, without the blinds. It was the first car that Father bought that was not a bomb. It was so posh, with an electric back window. The longer we had the car, the slower the window worked.



I would guess less than half the female population drove then. I am quite pleased Mother never learnt to drive. The thought of her driving now is unthinkable.

Interesting find when fact checking. Where Mother spun the car wheels was the corner of what is now called the Moe Walhalla Road and Prudents Track.  Neither road names are familiar to me. Old Sale Road comes to mind though.

16 comments:

  1. I don't drive, when we were married I told the other half that he had to do all the driving and all work that involved getting up a ladder.
    Now he no longer drives as he says they are all mad on the roads but still does all ladder work.
    Merle...........

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    1. Merle, I remember that the truckie beer fairy no longer drives. I don't blame him.

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  2. I love memories that make you smile and that one of your Mother breaking the handbrake is certainly one to treasure.

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    1. Fun60, I smile as I remember it. All she did really was pull on it.

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  3. My mother never learnt to drive but she found that a problem when my dad got sick. I learnt to drive when I was 17. Not many girls drove then. In the 50's.

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    1. Diane, I expect even in your 'middle years', you are quite a good driver, having learnt at a young age.

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  4. My mother learned to drive at a later age when access to a car became essential for the business she entered into. She was very nervous about it and failed the driving test numerous times before one of the testers finally took pity and passed her.

    She remained nervous for the rest of her driving days. The first two cars she purchased were expensive high level models with more power than she would ever need. She was too nervous to drive either car home from the dealers on the first day and she got my father to do it.

    The first night of ownership of each of those cars my father insisted - not unreasonably - that she take the plunge and take each for a local drive and practice parking them. So nervous was she both times that she managed, before even getting out of the parking space, to crash them both into the car parked in front of her. Two brand new cars damaged on their first day.

    Amazingly she continued to drive for the next 25 years or so without further mishap (but who knows how many other drivers she caused into accidents by her nervous driving style).

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    1. Victor, a bit Mr Magoo like? A trail of destruction behind? A great reminisce

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  5. I almost learned to drive, my mum arranged lessons with a man she knew who had a small car and one day I drove him and his parents to visit family in a small town close to Murray Bridge. They stayed all day and I drove home through the night, and did really well. Then he moved away, so I bought the little motor bike and got my licence on that instead. Years later hubby decided to teach me, we were in the car five minutes and he'd yelled at me so much I was a wreck. Oddly enough he had far more patience teaching our eldest daughter to drive. But then refused to teach the other kids. :(
    The thought of trying to drive now, with the much faster speeds and much more traffic horrifies me. I'll stick with public transport and walking.

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    1. A wise decision River. But there are plenty of incompetent older female drivers on the roads now. One more would not matter.

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  6. Ha ha breaking the handbrake is gold!

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    1. Fen, I recently reminded Mother of something she had forgotten recently. I wonder if she remembers the handbrake thing. I will ask her.

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  7. well it's not like it was HER fault the handbrake was insufficiently robust.
    Glenhuntly road Elsternwick is my pick for The Worst Drivers. I saw a car angle parked across a CORNER once. I swear it is true.

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    1. Ann, I think the handbrake was decayed through lack of use. Father never used it.

      Glenthuntly Road Elsternerwick or Carlisle Street Balacalva. Hard call. Probably GH Road is the worst.

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  8. I think many ladies didn't learn to drive in that generation, my Mum never did either..I really can't imagine what it would be like not to be able to get myself around independently! I like your mum more every time she's the star of your posts Andrew :)

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    1. Grace, how to make yourself men dependant lesson #101.

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