The Worst Driver Ever

Grandma Kc wrote this on November 15th, 2014 25 Replies

This is a special memory from my own childhood.

My mother really was the worst driver ever. I remember when we moved to California and she had to take the driving test. She proudly told the story of how she almost failed because she didn’t know the three hand signals. She explained to the tester that in Michigan no one stuck their hand out the window to signal – it might freeze! She talked him into passing her. He really shouldn’t have!

I don’t remember my mother ever buying a new car. She always bought very well maintained used cars and usually they were Oldsmobiles. Those cars would quickly go from being in great shape to have dents everywhere! We hadn’t been in California for more than a week when the CHP pulled up behind her with his lights going. Since she was in the fast lane, she just pulled to the left and stopped! The policeman was not amused. He had to do a traffic break so that she could pull back into traffic and merge all the way to the right. She did not talk him out of that speeding ticket! Of course, there was also the time that the motorcyclist ran into her. She said she wasn’t to blame. We used to joke that mothers should get their children off the sidewalks when my mom was driving.

I remember one time when I was about 8 that we drove for miles with a police car behind us flashing his lights. She was sure it was my Uncle and that he was just clowning around. It wasn’t my uncle and she did get a ticket!

But what I remember most were the number of times my mother hit the fire hydrant at the end of our driveway and broke it off! Our house sat at the top of a hill with a horseshoe shaped driveway that went all the way around it. The fire hydrant sat to the left of the driveway just a few feet from the street. While that hydrant was painted bright red, my mother somehow managed not to see it more than once. There was the time she was turning into the driveway and managed to miss the driveway completely and hit the hydrant! Yes, there was a geyser! I remember sitting in the car and wondering if it would ever stop. She hit that hydrant at least twice when our driveway was coated with ice. She couldn’t get enough traction to make it up the drive and the car slid backwards and hit it. Now we had frozen geysers and that made the driveway even worse!

I see pictures from the fifties and sixties of children playing in the water of the fire hydrants. I do remember times when they would open the hydrants in the summer but what I really remember most is the times my mother opened it with the car! I have to wonder if any of the people who have lived in the house since have had so much trouble navigating the driveway.

The house I grew up in with the fire hydrant out front.

This picture is courtesy of my sister Sandy who went and took it for me. Of all the photos I have of the front of that house I couldn’t find any that included the fire hydrant. Thank you baby sister!

25 thoughts on “The Worst Driver Ever

  1. Joyce

    You have really been through some adventures, girl! That is pretty funny – and fortunate that no one ever got hurt!
    I didn’t have parents who could equal this story, but I do remember how my sisters and I collected little green seeds from a landscape evergreen and took them with us on errands with daddy. For some crazy reason we thought it was fun to toss them at bicyclists. Poor daddy – totally clueless. And to this day I shudder to think of how we could have injured someone if they were distracted by our stupid prank!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      We did some really dumb things when were were young but then all kids do! You just reminded me of another story I need to tell!

      Reply
  2. Olga

    My mother never learned to drive. One lesson from my father–never known for his patience–convinced her she would never learn and she never tried again.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      My wonderful Aunt Phyllis who I have blogged about is now 93 and has never learned to drive. I think my cousin tried to teach her after my Uncle passed away so that she could be more self-sufficient. I think that was only one lesson, too and probably for the same reason!

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      The thing in Michigan — at least in the small towns of Jonesville and Hillsdale where I lived was there were no buses and it was too cold to walk anywhere!

      Reply
  3. Sandy

    Even though the driveway looks like it’s a good distance away, I can maybe understand hitting the hydrant once, but twice, and then a 3rd time??? I can’t imagine riding in quiet little Jonesville with your mom, let alone traveling clear across the country with her! You are lucky you all made it in one piece!

    I’m so glad your childhood home is still here for you to ‘visit’ in pictures. I wonder if the new owners think I’m some kind of weirdo. It seems like I’ve taken a lot of pictures of that house over the years. LOL!! I’m happy to do it though!!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      There were at least 4 hydrant events that I clearly remember and when we go visit the house the next time I am in Michigan we will have to ask them if they’ve ever hit it!

      I vividly remember that trip cross county with my mom driving. Somewhere in Texas she burned out the brakes coming down a hill. WOW was the frightening!

      Reply
  4. Joy @ Yesterfood

    Another fascinating story! :) Your mom was such a bad driver, and back then no one wore seat belts….so happy there were no injuries to you and your sis!! Mercy! Your guardian angel was working overtime! ;)

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      You mentioned seat belts and another terrible mom driving story came to mind. I don’t remember this one but she used to tell us often of the time when my sister and I were very young and standing up on the backseat of the car when she missed a curve in the road because of the snow and we came flying into the front seat. Amazing that one of didn’t hit the windshield. She used to tell this story as if it was something to be proud of!

      Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      Living in southern California I can’t imagine not driving but I guarantee you I am a much better driver than she was — because her driving aggravated me!

      Reply
  5. Lisa @ Grandma's Briefs

    That is too, too funny! I’m sure it wasn’t at the time, but gee whiz… how many can say Mom ran over the hydrant — multiple times!

    You really need to compile all these memories into a book. I recently participated in a memoir-writing teleconference. YOU have the stuff such books are made of!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      You know it may have been worse for me because Jonesville was such a small town, only 1300 people and ALL of them knew what a terrible driver my mother was.

      As for a book, I have to say it would be a blast but I just can’t imagine anyone reading it. It still amazes me that anyone but my family reads them now! But I admit you have me thinking… it would be fun.

      Reply
  6. Stephanie Faris

    Yikes to hitting a fire hydrant. That would create quite a scene!!! I have to say, I’m not sure I know the three hand signals. Do they still test on that? I can’t remember if it was on the test I took–but that would have been back in 1986, which was a long, long time ago!

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      I took the test about 20 years before you and they required it then. What they no longer require in California is for you to parallel park! I knew lots of people who failed the first time because they couldn’t parallel park!

      Reply
  7. Rhonda

    Lol, too funny. Sounds like your mother was quite a character during your childhood. I’m picturing the hydrant gushing, and her thinking they should have placed in another spot, lol. There’s a reason they are painted red! Glad nobody was hurt during her crashes.

    Reply
  8. imaddy

    My mother stop driving in her 50′s. She was always nervous when she was side by side with another car at the red light, she felt that her car was going backward when the light would turn green and the other car was going.
    Thank you to your sister Sandy for taking a great photo.

    Reply
    1. Grandma Kc Post author

      The sad part about it is my mother didn’t even know how bad a driver she was! And yes, Sandy is the best!

      Reply
  9. KImberly

    I continue to astounded that you lived through that childhood. Once my mom was trying to get my brain injured father his medicine. In her frustration, she accidentally took it herself and then crashed into the garage.

    Reply

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