Dad worked for Ford’s Motor company in the wheel department, but we never had a car. He never learned to drive one and for mum they were always dangerous machines, although a drive in a car was a big adventure for her. No-one had a car in our family except for my aunt and uncle. They had no children and were probably the only ones that could afford a car. At the age of 18 dad’s mate volunteered to give me my first lessons, a brave man. I had no idea how this car thing worked. He had a Ford car (all dad’s mates drove Ford because they all worked there) and this particular car which I was learning on had the gear change on the steering wheel with a bench seat at the front. This was my first driving experiences. I think I had about 10 lessons, but I was not really interested and we both decided it was a good idea for me to give up.
I moved on, went to Switzerland a couple of years later. This driving thing was something and nothing, and I was always lucky enough to have boyfriends with their own car, so why bother.
One day I met the man of my life, he could drive a car, but due to lack of money we were bus people. However, with time he got himself a moped, one of those motor driven bikes. I could not drive an ordinary bike, so I did not bother. Then one day, when the financial situation had improved, we bought our first car, a second hand white beetle Volkswagen. It was nothing special, and not exactly the solution on wheels, but it was a beginning.
Cutting a long story short, we progressed with the size and power of our cars, and eventually had a Simca. The kids were now growing and it was decided (I decided) I should learn to drive. I found a driving teacher, and after about 95 lessons, not quite 100, I took the test and passed first time. It is still a mystery to me today, although I had no problem in changing gears, I was just not so good in keeping a straight line on the road, steering wheel problems. Of course this was not enough, and I instisted on my own car which was a second hand Fiat 127 Top model.
They do not make them like that any more. I was so happy when I found this photo in my archives, the only memoray I have of this little first car. I still have my original driving licence from 22.07.1982 when I was 36 years old. I never bothered to get one of those nice new plastic cards. I still have the original on blue paper, a little torn at the edges now and it serves its purpose. There are people that seem to have driving mechanism in their physical construction, I do not. In the meanwhile I converted to driving an automatic. Cars are basically all the same with gears and brakes and lamps and steering wheels. Unfortunately roads do not stay the same. Where there used to be a nice two way road, there is suddently a system of one way roads. Things had to go faster, and so motorways appeared connecting all the main towns in the country. I needed my car for working purposes, but when I was at last retired it was no longer necessary – I had a chauffeur with a car which I could use if necessary
It came to pass that I discovered he could do it better than me, so who am I to argue. It also came to pass that over the years I was no longer driving and when I was diagnosed with MS I gave up altogether. My neurologist found this was not good, Mr. Swiss was not being the youngest shoot on the family tree, and so I began to drive again. We take turns when going to the supermarket who is on the steering wheel. However, I do not choose complicated maze-similar paths, I stick to the roads I know.
Now and again the powers that be in the area decide on repairing roads and changing directions with the aid of special traffic lights or men that stand in the middle of the road waving their hands to show you where to go. I do not like that, but I suppose you cannot have everything. I would add I never go near a motorway, the cars go too fast. Although Mr. Swiss tells me to slow down now and again. Of course I only drive faster to see if he is keeping an eye on things.
My steering has not really improved a lot, there are some things that you cannot change, but I more or less keep to the middle of road, most of the time, although sometimes you have to be more on the right because you are turning off somewhere. Oh, why does driving a car have to be complicated.