Mama had and loved a little green 1964 Chevrolet Corvair she called her puddle jumper. She drove it back and forth every day to work at what then was just called the chicken plant. This was long before anyone knew about Don Tyson.
Mama in her Corvair? No it isn't.
One Sunday afternoon, after much pleading on my part, Daddy agreed to begin teaching me to drive. I had visions of long drives with the windows down and the wind blowing my long hair while gripping the steering wheel with one hand and smoothly shifting gears with the other hand. Although I was looking forward to a little father/daughter time, my brother and sister hopped in the back seat of Mama's little car as Daddy drove me to the, at that time unpaved, straight stretch of Shoe Plant Road. He began with the basics of starting the engine before showing me how to gently ease off on the clutch while pushing the accelerator down slowly and sliding it into first gear. That was a little tricky because when I released the clutch just a little too quickly, that danged puddle jumper would try to leap over some imaginary mud hole. After I failed to get the wheels moving forward more than two rotations before the car would shudder and die, my brother pulled a football helmet out of the back seat and put it on. Little sister was tucked tightly in the back floorboard.
I finally got the car headed South but something was still wrong. It was a good thing that was an untraveled road because obviously there was something wrong with the steering mechanism on the car.
It kept going from way over on the far West side of the road to nearly in the ditch on the East side. I didn't understand what Daddy was wanting to know when he kept asking me why I was moving the steering wheel back and forth. Didn't they turn the steering wheel from side to side in the movies? After just that one lesson, Daddy said I would have to take driver's education. I am still not convinced it was all my fault though. After all, the Corvair was one of eight cars listed in Ralph Nader's 1965 book "Unsafe At Any Speed."
Except for that one instance I would have crashed into the city pool house if not for Coach "I Forgot His Name" braking in the nick of time, driver's education went off without a hitch. But had I known you had to report your height and weight when you got your license, I would not have been as eager to learn to drive.