This is a special memory from my own childhood.
My mother had left us alone in the car while she went in to drop some clothes at the cleaners. Times were different then and parents weren’t so concerned about leaving their kids in the car while they ran an errand. I was probably four and my sister would have been three. I have very vivid memories of that cleaners. It was on a side street that was very steep and just off the main street.
We were in the front seat of the car and my sister was very intrigued by the car’s cigarette lighter. I was having fun playing with the buttons on the radio. She pushed the lighter in and when it popped up she bravely tried to pull it out – but she dropped it. We looked on the floor of the front seat. It wasn’t there and I was not about to reach my hand under and get it burned. She thought maybe it had rolled under the seat and was on the floor in the back.
Over the seat she crawled and in doing so she managed to kick the gearshift and knock the car into neutral. That is when our joy ride began, as apparently our mother hadn’t set the emergency break. We were rolling down the hills backwards, the 2 of us staring out the back windshield in a complete panic. We were headed straight for the gas station.
We missed all the traffic or they missed us as we went across the main street. We missed all the pumps and coasted to a stop next to the service area. We weren’t hurt. There wasn’t a dent. I remember one of the mechanics running out to make sure we were OK. I don’t have any recollection of what happened after that. I am sure my mother must have been panicked but I am also sure she would have been very angry when she found out what we had been doing that caused it all to happen.
It is probably good that I don’t remember anything else.