When I was seventeen, it was a very good year; It was a very good year for [big city] girls . . . ” – sung by Frank Sinatra in D minor, 1966
When I found my original Texas Driver Education Certificate (Form DL-41A) last year, I smiled from ear to ear. It was so cool to find this document after all these years. Where was it? Tucked away in a box in my parents garage for many, many years. After looking at this document more closely, I found myself humming and singing the two opening stanzas of Frank Sinatra’s song above with a slight change in the lyrics (of course) to show that I was no small town girl. Still, why that song came to mind, I can’t say. But what I will say is 1977 “was a very good year” because it’s the year I learned to drive a car!
A closer look at this certificate reveals that 39 years ago yesterday, May 4, 1977, I completed 12 hours of simulator instruction, 3 hours of in-car instruction, and 3 hours of in-car observation at University of Houston. I have no memory of Marvin Reichle, the instructor who signed my certificate above. But, he must have been great because I do remember enjoying the simulator and in-car instruction part of the program very much!
When my classmates learned that I was taking drivers ed at the university twice a week, they all asked why didn’t my parents teach me how to drive themselves. I wondered about that too at first. But I soon realized they wanted me to learn best practices with regards to the laws of the road (i. e. how to deal with different driving conditions, how to react in emergencies, etc.). They also knew if I completed a driver and traffic safety education program approved by the Department of Public Safety, I would receive the SO-30 Driver Training Certificate for insurance purposes too.
This certificate automatically gave me a 10% discount on Bodily Injury, Property Damage, Medical Payments, Personal Injury Protection and Collision coverages when my parents added me to their auto insurance. Now that I had a learner’s license guess what make and model car I drove to practice driving? I did all of my practice driving in a 1976 or 1977 Dodge Monaco Brougham, very similar to the one featured below.
Yes, our family car was a BIG one. But despite its size, I LOVED driving that car! It was easy to handle and offered all its passengers a very smooth ride every time.
Do you remember when you learned to drive? What make and model car did you use for practice driving? Let me hear from you; feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section of this post below.
Might I say that the 3 hour video taught us how to drive defensively and many decades later I still drive with that video (film) in mind.
I started learning to drive when I was about 16. I didn’t take drivers training, I learned to drive in the family car (an old chevy) when we went to the country. One day I drove into a ditch as my cousins were driving up. I think I stopped driving after that until i was 29. My husband completed my training in a Volkswagen bug. I don’t like city driving, which is unfortunate since I now live in the city.
Liv I guess I am even older than I thought, lol! What I remember most was taking driver ed at my high school as a class, and driving around its course on the school grounds.Three or four of us piled into the prescribed car, and took turns driving around the course. If we passed, we got our permit and it went on from there. Life was SOOOO different and simpler then. (Oops, guess I’ve just told everyone that I AM OLD(er). Lol!
Thanks for the memory!
Hey Nick! Thanks so much for adding to my memories of learning to drive for the very first time. Okay, you definitely piqued my interest in the Borgward that I did a quick search online to learn more – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borgward. You’re right! I don’t know of anyone who learned to drive with this beauty. I can only imagine the fun you had taking that one for a spin – woo-hoo!
I learned to drive in a Borgward. Not many can claim that make of car!