Joy Riding

Grandma Kc wrote this on February 14th, 2014 26 Replies

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.

Kc and her sister sitting on the Oldsmobile

I have no idea what we are pointing at here.
But this is the car we drove.

26 thoughts on “Joy Riding

  1. Olga

    I had a similar experience with my brother “driving” although we were in the driveway and rolled into the garage door. Your mother would have been reported, investigated, who knows what all if such a thing happened today.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Times were different and even though it was a small town that hasn’t grown much – I doubt people do it now!

      Reply
  2. Joy @ Yesterfood

    Oh, goodness, what an adventure! I love the picture of you and your sis on the car you “drove”! Glad it all turned out well and no one got hurt! Wonder if anyone ever found the lighter? 🙂

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Oh, I am sure my mother found the lighter! This was the fifties and most people smoked and she was certainly no exception!

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I can’t help but wonder what she told my Dad about our adventure! Hope she got in at least a little bit of trouble.

      Reply
  3. Joyce

    Whew! What a relief to have a happy ending! But I have to admit, these last few “harrowing tales” in your memory series have me laughing when I probably shouldn’t be! It’s just the fun way you tell the stories – as if in the words of that little girl, way back when! And as I read I feel as if I’m right there with you, scared but enjoying it because I know there is a safe outcome!
    That picture of you and sissy is darling! I remember cars like that and cigarette lighters – and windows that only rolled down MANUALLY!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thanks Joyce, I really am having fun and I do have a memory like an elephant – or so I have been told.

      Grampy and I were just talking about rolling windows down manually! Pretty soon children won’t understand the universal charade for roll down the window so that someone can reach in and unlock the door when they lock themselves in the car. What is the universal charade for push the window button?

      Reply
  4. sarah christian

    What a story! That could have actually killed you both – kids are better off just not being left alone, but I do remember the time when it was not big deal to leave children alone in the car for a quick errand. Glad it had a happy ending. Mom would have been so glad you were okay rather than being mad at what you had done I would hope. Thanks for sharing. Your writing is always so wonderful.

    Reply
  5. debra@ HOMESPUN

    OOPS !!! I remember those days…big roomy cars, no car seats, no major parental worries…your mom would have been arrested nowadays. Crazy to think of it that way, huh? You were not restrained in a seat, she left you for a minute. Big Crime now.

    You two were terrified and oh my gosh can you imagine how scared and relieved she must have been after that. What a tale…..! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I really can kind of imagine her standing in the lobby of the cleaners and looking out their big window as we rolled down the hill….

      Reply
  6. KImberly

    Have Mercy! That is a terrifying story. Land’s, I’ve led a boring life. No joy rides or run ins with the law and certainly not when I was still nearly a toddler.

    Reply
  7. Judy@grandparentsplus2

    Oh my gosh, were you two lucky little girls. I never had an experience like that but when my daughter was little I pulled across the street into the neighbor’s drive and stepped out to talk to her. My daughter was around two and somehow shifted the car into neutral and it rolled backwards, across the street, and back into our driveway, and then started the process again. All the time, I’m racing along side the car trying to get back in. I think it took me a week to get over it. And, about a year ago my grandson was in the older of our two cars and it still has a cigarette lighter. So, he popped it in and when it popped out he just put his finger right on it to see if it was hot, scorching it so bad he had the mark from the lighter. Scared us both and his finger blistered and was quite sore. Love your memories. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I think my heart stopped when I read about your daughter. I can sure understand why it would take a week and then some to get over it. I would have been reliving it over and over again in my mind. Sleeping could not have come easily that first night!

      You will have to tell your son about my lighter experience!

      Reply
  8. An Enchanted Cottage

    Oh my gosh – it was such a different world back then, wasn’t it? My sister and I could easily have been you and your sister! I love that photo of the two of you on the hood of the car! I just love old family photos!! Thanks for sharing the story and photo!

    Donna

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Thanks for stopping by Donna. I am really glad my Dad always had a camera in his hand. He captured lots of memories for me!

      Reply
  9. Sandy Siegel

    That was a scary experience! So glad it turned out all right for everyone! Times really are different now, aren’t they? How did we ever survive our childhoods??? Love the picture of you two on the car!

    Reply
  10. Launna

    Oh my goodness Kc… that must have been scary for you at the time… you two are so lucky that you were able to coast to a stop… and if your mom was angry… she should have been angry with herself, I would have been. These are great stories, keep writing them 🙂

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      It did turn out OK but I can’t help but hope my mom did get in a little bit of trouble for our adventure. I’m glad you’re enjoying my stories; I must admit I am having a lot of fun with them!

      Reply
  11. Kristi

    I don’t remember any of us kids “driving” the car like that, but I do remember hearing one of my mom’s friends telling about how her daughter set the car in gear accidentally. Times were definitely different then, weren’t they?

    I love the photo of your sister and you on top of the car–too cute!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Things were different back then and it doesn’t seem like anybody ever set the emergency brake! I’m pretty sure cars had them back then.

      Reply

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