On Wednesday when it was Conner's birthday, my Aunt left a comment on his Facebook profile that made me laugh. She told Conner he was getting old enough to drive and needed to come to her special driving school. It made me crack up hysterically fueling the idea this story needed to be told. It also goes hand in hand with complaints from my Dad about the way I drive when he rides with me.
One Saturday when I was thirteen years old, my aunt Maggie and I were out for a drive in her red Ford Blazer. We had many fun times in that car and she drove us girls all over in that car. This particular Saturday she drove me to York field parking lot and told me she was going to teach me how to drive. Maggie is only 11 years older than I am and was in her early twenties. She told me not to tell my parents and I loved it. She taught me how to park, start the car, reverse and everything. We did this many Saturday mornings for a long time. Nobody ever knew and it was a fun secret to have.
Later my cousins and sister joined in on the fun all while our parents remained in the dark. Not sure how old the other girls were when it became their turn to learn. Maggie was the coolest aunt ever in our eyes!
One day, my Mom and I were grocery shopping and she became very ill in the store. She nearly passed out and wondered how would we get home? I calmly smiled and said, "Don't worry Mom, I know how to drive! I can drive us home!" Imagine the look of shock on her face ( I am laughing hysterically just typing this out.) that her 13 and a half year old knew how to drive. It was two blocks and I got us home safely. There was a long conversation about how Aunt Maggie had been secretly teaching me to drive. My mom was thankful in that moment.
I think our driving school stopped after that until I was old enough to drive. I don't think my parents were amused by this news at first! I really don't know since I missed out on those conversations.
A few years later, I was sixteen and babysitting regularly for our friends the Fitz's every weekend. Mr.Fitz decided that I needed to learn to drive stick shift to drive their cars. So Saturday mornings on the way home from my Friday night sitting gig, he would take me out driving. I remember many frustrating times at stoplights where I would stall out when the light turned green. I also remember one time girls driving by and laughing at me as I jerked the car up a hilly intersection.
It was during this time that I picked up a driving habit of Jim's. His wife Jen once told me that Jim never liked to go the same way twice into their neighborhood and often took "short cuts". To this day, I always have a particular way of going certain places. It drives my Dad insane and he always says "Why can't you drive in a straight line!!"
My answer, "Please forward all complaints to the instructor at Fitzpatrick school of driving please" while I smile and laugh.
I truthfully think my Dad and Mom owe Jim and Maggie a great thanks. They never had to suffer through the task of teaching me how to drive. I also have never caused or been in one accident since driving at the tender age of thirteen. I am a excellent driver! I went on to teach Marty and others to drive stick and am so thankful to have learned to drive stick.
I am also grateful for the funny memories that make me smile and laugh. I was driving with my Dad tonight and he was complaining about my driving and I just smiled while mentally writing this blog in my head.
Thanks Mags and Jim!
P.S. Maggie and I have children close in age. My cousins were threatened within a inch of their life to NOT teach her daughter Alex how to drive without her permission.