Tribute To Our Mothers: We Drove ’em Crazy … They Drove Everywhere Else!

As the resident “Andy Rooney” of DT, I thought it would be appropriate to take this opportunity to show the softer side of us gear-heads by inviting our readers to comment about the coolest/oddest cars their mom’s drove or provide us with some Mom-based anecdotes of the things that we’ve all done to drive our mothers crazy, or amazing things our moms have done while driving.  I’ll begin…

Our family’s favorite prank from the early ’60s, while waiting for mom to get to the car, was to turn on every possible electric device in the car so that when Mom turned the key she’d be greeted with full speed wipers, a blaring AM Radio, full windshield defroster, the Speedminder Alarm set to 10mph. It was fair. We were in shorts, sitting on plastic seat covers in 80+ degree heat and our thighs would stick to it (*for those of you under 58 yrs old a speedminder alarm is an adjustable setting that causes a buzzer to go off when you exceed that speed. Most were buried at 120 the first time they were encountered).

Car pictured above is not the actual car, but is the correct model.

Pranks aside, let me add that I’m blessed to still have my Mom who is a very spry 91 year old. She gave up her 34,000 mi ’99 Lumina LS in 2010 when she moved across country to live closer to us.

Not her actual car pictured, but it could be, as hers was that color and she loved that flag!

Mom could still drive but, at her age, coping with new streets and the dreaded “Michigan-Left” and sudden 9-inch snows were more than she could have endured. Now that we’re back in CA and those obstacles are out of the way, we keep her keys by pointing out that she’s no longer in possession of a license and would have to take a driver’s test. Which leads me to recount the following:

We knew it was getting closer for Mom to give up her keys when:

1) She commented that drivers in Ft. Lauderdale were far less friendly when they were twenty years ago. They drive so much faster than they used to and they’re constantly blowing their horns.

2) She’d gladly drive us all over town, but we noticed we were always in the alleys behind the stores

rather than on the streets. She could maneuver all over town without stopping for a stop sign.

3) Would go around the cue of cars in the left turn lane waiting at the Red Left Turn Arrow and turn left from the middle lane on the green. When questioned about this tactic, she commented that “That green arrow is for all the old people who need help making a safe turn. I had plenty of room so I turned”.

4) When I’d volunteer to wash her car and noticed that there wasn’t a single panel that hadn’t been resprayed at least once.

The Most Amazing Thing My Mom Ever Did Behind The Wheel Of A Car:

While all of the above is the fun stuff, my best memory of my Mom and are car is a simple one.  I had a morning paper route from fourth grade to sixth grade, which caused me to leave the house before everyone else was awake.  We’re talking the 1960’s here, so it was normally just me and my bike.  Occasionally, I would awaken to the sound of a heavy rain or look out the window and see 5-6 inches of fresh snow, but it wasn’t a problem.  All I had to do was tiptoe into my parents bedroom and whisper “Mom its raining pretty hard out, can you drive me on my route” and she’d quietly get up sporting curlers, throw her warm robe over her PJs and off we’d go.

Yesterday, Mom called me and asked me if I could take her to 99-cent store as the bus at her retirement center wasn’t heading that way for a few days.  I grumbled inside my head, but went and got her.  On our drive back from the shopping, she expressed her concern that I was running late.  Making light of it, I told her not to worry by telling her I knew how to speed things up.  “I’m just going to slow down a little and kick you out as we drive by your place.  But don’t worry, if you stay in a good tight tuck-and- roll, you should end up right at the front door!”  A few minutes later, we arrived at her place.  I reached over and opened her door, undid her seat belt and playfully told her ‘Get Out!”  She smiled and said, “I don’t have time to tuck and roll today, so I’ll just have to walk in like the rest of ’em.  Thanks for the ride honey”.  She’s 91 years old and still has a great sense of humor.  Happy Mother’s Day Mom, you are the best!

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[Photo Credit – Lumina LS:]

[Photo Credit – 1965 Pontiac Catalina 4 dr: