April 13, 2013 in Features

The Slice: Today’s lesson: There’s no time like white-knuckle time

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Readers recalled taking the wheel.

“My father tried to teach me how to drive, but it was such a disaster that I waited until I could get into drivers’ education class before I tried driving again,” wrote Laurie Newell. “I was the oldest of six children so my father had not given driving lessons before. He was an engineer at Boeing. All things mechanical and technical were second nature to him, but of course not to a 16-year-old girl.”

The family car was a leviathan ’57 Plymouth station wagon. It had a stick shift and manual choke. “My first and only lesson began with me repeatedly killing the engine and then flooding it.”

It went downhill from there.

Valerie Adams remembers her father teaching her how to drive in a 1956 DeSoto station wagon that had a push-button automatic shifter. “As a farmer’s daughter it is surprising that he didn’t teach me how to drive a standard transmission.”

Linda Karr’s father taught her to drive in 1958 in the family’s Studebaker. “My dad was a teacher, so he believed in practice, practice, practice. Once he felt I knew a bit about driving and could change a tire and the oil, he had me drive 100 miles in the two acre lot next to our house (in Moscow).”

Jerry Birr’s brother-in-law showed him how to drive in 1965, in a 1939 Chevy pickup. The steering in that truck did not automatically return to center after a turn. The driver had to yank the wheel back. “So if you forgot to do this, what with braking and changing gears and the fact I was just learning, it would just keep going around in a circle. Scared several people on the sidewalks of Whitefish until I got the hang of it.”

Deck, deck, goose: A few readers suggested that life without a deck is almost not worth living. The vote was not unanimous, however.

“I have a deck but would rather have a covered, screened porch,” wrote Denise James.

“Years ago we had a deck and rarely used it because it faced west and was hot as hell,” said Les Norton.

“Decks are great for people who like to be outside when it’s hot or for people who entertain,” wrote a reader in Coeur d’Alene. “Neither applies to my husband and me.”

Today’s Slice question: Children’s vitamins in the shape of what Inland Northwest icon might sell well here?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Spokane’s personality is part Woodstock, part Altamont.


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