Memory: Learning to drive.
My father is a very calm man, but I’ve never seen him as stressed as when he was trying to teach me to drive.
He was in the process of fixing up an old Manuel Toyota Corolla for me, when I first got my learners licence. He had previously let me drive around in country paddocks in his 4WD Patrol. But after the first time we took his rather wide and powerful Nissan Patrol on the road he decided he was going to get me a small automatic car with power steering and he quickly sold the Corolla and got a Ford Laser. The Laser was immaculate once he was done fixing it up. I loved that Laser. It was nice and easy to drive.
I should add that my dad is a panel beater and this was back in the day when you could buy a write-off and repair it, which is exactly what he did with the Corolla and the Laser.
My dad refused to try and teach me to park, so he paid a driving instructor with a Toyota Rav4 to do that.
There was a time in-between him fixing up the laser that he took me for a lesson in my mother’s Holden Commodore, which for a 16 year old with not much driving experience was an army tank, big and powerful. I loved it. He gritted his teeth the entire time, I think it made him get the laser fixed quicker.
It was a fine day and we heated up to visit my grandfather at Kurri. A lot of the roads on the way the speed limit is 80/90, but I doubt I was going anywhere near that as it was one of my first times on the road. My dad would keep getting me to pull over to the side of the road so all the cars behind us could go past. I can remember on one of these pull out of the way stops, I was gliding to a nice smooth stop before a road marker and he was jumping up and down in his seat saying STOP! I was very cranky because I thought I did a beautiful smooth breaking job just like the paid driving instructor had been teaching me. I explained this to my father and his response was ‘’Break harder and faster when you’re in the car with me” The more I think about it, I think that was the only time he took me out in my mother’s car.
The difference between my mother and fathers teaching Technics where like night and day. My Dad would freak out and tell me to slow down and STOP!! and the radio was always off!! My Mum would sit in the passenger seat, relax and tune out to the music on the radio as I drove around collecting my minimum hours.
I would also like to point out I got my licence first go and scored 98% on my test, losing only two points for my reverse park (which is really amusing as I nearly always reverse into parking spots these days). So both my parents’ methods of teaching me to drive worked. The fella in the Rav4 paid off to, as neither of my parents had to try to teach me to park.