Quilting, Farming, Variety

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Car -- In Remembrance of Mama

One Saturday night, Daddy told Mama he believed if he had a car of his own he might be able to find more work and we wouldn't have to borrow Uncle Dewey's car. He had found one he could buy for $250 which seemed like a lot to Mama. It was something like a 1929 A-model Ford. We were excited about having a car, and Wanda had suggested that maybe Mama could learn to drive and take us to school events.

When Daddy came home with the car he asked, "Would anybody like to ride in my new car?" and Charlotte had run to look it over; it was black and looked grand to her, with two seats, black and smooth, and windows that rolled up and down. She ran to meet Wanda coming down the path from the school bus and told her about the car. They hurried to the yard, but when Wanda saw it, she stopped and frowned. "Is that old thing what Daddy bought? It looks terrible! No one else has a car that looks that old and ugly! I won't ride in it!" she said.

But Mama said we should give Daddy a chance to take us for a ride. He drove us as far as the church house and drove back as far as the gate. He asked Mama, "Why don't you drive the rest of the way? I'll tell you everything you have to do." So Mama got into the driver's seat and Daddy gave her instructions. The old car's engine roared as she pushed down on the gas pedal, and with a jerk! jerk! jerk! the car lurched forward. Charlotte squealed with delight, Daddy laughed, and Wanda even smiled.

The car went faster and faster; dust puffed up from behind the wheels. "Slow down; let up off the gas pedal and don't hit that hole where the horses wallow!" Daddy ordered. The old car kept going, straight for the hole. Thud! It bounced everyone into the air. Charlotte's head brushed the top of the car. Chickens squawked and ran out of the road. Mama took her foot off the gas pedal and everyone pitched forward. They all laughed except Mama; she looked pale as she slumped over the steering wheel to catch her breath. "I'm never driving this thing again!"she said. But Charlotte said it was the best ride she'd ever had, and would Mama take them for another tomorrow?

After about two weeks Daddy sold the car and began looking for a truck so he could haul coal from the mines. Wanda was happy it was gone, but Charlotte was sad since they'd still have to depend on Uncle Dewey's car.

We teased Mama about this a lot, but she always took it well. Mama grew up in times when not many women learned to drive. In her later years she did drive a few times to visit her father, but I think she finally gave up because of Daddy's complaining.

Here's wishing all mothers a happy day, Charlotte


  1. Aw....what a bittersweet post. I loved your mom's courage at getting behind the wheel so quickly but I'm sorry her spirit was later broken.
    Thanks for sharing your memories!
    Happy Mother's Day!

  2. My mother did not get her drivers license until I was 10. That would have been in '79. My grandmother got her drivers in her late 50's and then only because my grandfather had cancer an he made her get it.

    Do you have any pictures of your daddy's truck?

  3. I enjoyed reading your memories of your mama. My mom never learned to drive, I don't think she even rode a bicycle

  4. I enjoyed this post. My mom never learned to drive but she tried once and nearly run over a cow in a pasture of all things. That's where daddy took her and she later said she couldn't drive in a forty acrea field... Susie