When I was the appropriate age, about fifteen, I took the regular Driver’s Ed. class in school. It was regular then, not so much now. But it was all book learning – no actual behind-the-wheel training.
So my dad took on the job of teaching me to drive. I thought it would take a day or two for me to become a good driver. Boy, was I in for a surprise! To begin with, I learned to drive on a four-speed stick-shift – not easy.
First he took me to an abandoned shopping center parking lot to teach me to park. Yes, the dreaded parallel parking! He would stand at the end of one space, pretending to be the back end of a car. I was then to park behind him – without hitting him!
Oh mercy sakes! Figure out how to parallel park or kill your father! And he never budged one inch – ever!
Then we would drive home on the freeway – of all things! Believe me, I was thrown in the deep end of the driving pool.
But I did pretty good, until the day he had me drive all the way into the driveway. Evidently I was getting too close to the garage door and he yelled, “Stop!!!!!!” He startled me so badly I pressed on the gas instead of the brake. We went through the garage door, damaged the brick surround, which fell on the washer and dryer, and the car, damaging all of them.
Sitting in the car with a garage door and bricks on top of me, I was in tears. I cried, “I don’t believe this!” “Oh, believe it!” he said in a very flat tone.
During the reconstruction of the garage, my friends asked what kind of renovation were we doing at our house. I was too ashamed to say I had driven through the garage door.
I did get better and eventually was able to drive all the way home and park the car in the garage with no harm to house or car.
My dad was a good teacher and taught me everything I needed to know to take my driver’s test. On the day of the test, the gentleman said my parallel parking was great and my freeway driving was very good.
The one thing I didn’t know and Daddy failed to tell me – don’t stop in a crosswalk. Oops!
But I passed my test with flying colors and never ran into a garage door again.