Moments of Extreme Emotion: Flunking

Yes, I have flunked my driver’s test—again.

Is it the bullet-nosed, grey Studebaker I am learning to drive on, or is it just me? Anyway, the patrolman’s decision is final. I cannot drive alone. At least not yet. I have practiced driving with eight people stuffed into this Studebaker to Bossler’s Mennonite Church and back without crashing. Oh, there are some yells and screams along the way, but I haven’t careened off the road yet. (We’re frugal Mennonites and don’t waste gas on driving two cars if we are all going to the same place. Think: lap-holding, no seat-belts.)

Driving test Studebaker, 1950s
Driving test Studebaker, 1951

The first time I don’t pass my driver’s test is because I can’t parallel park right. (Yes, the ability to parallel park was part of the test back then.) And the second time, the cop says, “You were riding the clutch the whole time. If you keep on doing that you’ll wear out the transmission!” So I have flunked the driving test twice.

Boo Hoo!
Boo Hoo!

Me: I never flunk anything. In fact, I get all A’s in school. Now why can’t I pass this dumb test. I KNOW how to drive!

Mom: “Some people just don’t like girls with coverings on their heads.

Me: Well, that’s ridiculous!

Mom:  When you take the test again, just wear a bandanna on your head. That will cover up your covering and you’ll probably pass.

Me: Why would that make a difference?

I do pass the third time. Hallelujah!

Now please tell me why. This is a multiple choice quiz:

a. I finally got over my nervousness.

b. Three’s a charm.

c. The policeman noticed I wasn’t a plain girl.

d. The policeman suspected I was a plain girl and thought I probably could even drive a tractor. So, “What the heck—She passes!”

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35 thoughts on “Moments of Extreme Emotion: Flunking

    1. Shirley Hurst thinks the photo looks like Janice, but I’m not sure. And who would snap such a picture, another question. By the way, regarding pictures, I have a surprise for you when you come down, a pleasant one of course!

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  1. Bandana or not, you’ve got GRIT — you faced your obstacle head on and sailed right through it! Maybe, just maybe if you’d received your license any sooner, something not-so-pleasant would have happened and this was the Universe’s way of keeping you out of harm’s way. By having to really “gird your loins” for the test, you had a whole new respect for the privilege 🙂

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  2. That was discouraging. I think I passed on the first time, but I don’t think we had gearshift which made it easier. Your multiple choice: All of the above. HA

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  3. Raised in rural SE GA, I started driving cars, trucks, etc. at the age of 14, by trial and error, no drivers ed. Yikes! Arriving at the courthouse to obtain by learner’s permit, the officer inquired “How did you get here?” I drove. No problem, let’s see what you can do. Driving included a stick shift and parallel parking. Walked away with my permit. However, I was not a straight “A” student. We all have our strengthens and weaknesses. Delighted that yours is academia so we can all enjoy your writings and photos.

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  4. Probably a, but d is amusing so I’ll go with d.

    I used to parallel park just fine. A few days ago, I was downtown and just could not do it. You would think you don’t forget something like that. I pulled up beside the car I was going to park behind and backed in…just no way. I finally decided, just not enough room, and went around to the parking lot.

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    1. Pretty soon, I’m told, there will be cars with “sensors” that drive themselves. So parallel parking will be a thing of the past.

      Choosing all of the above would get you a perfect score, Susan. Thanks for posting.

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  5. Marian, you always find a way to tickle the funny bone. I’ll have to share this post with a certain someone in my family who shared the same fate, although I don’t think it had anything to do with a covering on her head. She has the same resilience you do, though. I hope my readers found you today and your readers find my post. As usual, we are in synch.

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    1. Thanks for the anecdote, I assume it concerns one of your sisters.

      Yes, I will ensure that my readers find your post containing stories of women, both of Amish and Mennonite backgrounds who have worn the prayer veiling. Readers, here is a link to some fascinating stories on Shirley’s website that ensued when she posed an intriguing question on her Facebook page: Have you ever worn a prayer veiling? Do you know someone who has? http://www.shirleyshowalter.com/2014/02/19/mennonite-bonnet-and-covering-stories-part-one/ Of course there is a Part II followup coming soon.

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  6. The correct answer was Choice E (not listed); The more the policeman looked at the Studebaker he realized it was really an airplane minus a propeller. He thinks, “If she has a license to fly this thing, then why not a car.” She passes.

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  7. I go with #4–as a woman who drives a tractor, so knows this has to be the truth. Love the photos and your mom’s thoughts. Glad you passed that test at last. For some of us, the driver’s test was much harder than getting As in high school classes. Fun post, Marian. Thanks.

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    1. Isn’t it odd that whatever seemed normal “back in the day” strikes us as odd when we write it down and send it out there into the cyber-world. The cliche might fit here: truth is stranger than fiction. Thanks, Kathy, for your nod today.

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  8. It took me three tries to pass my driver’s licence at age 27 and I didn’t have anything covering my head. I think by the third time they just wanted to get rid of me.

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  9. I can so relate to your experience – except (as you now know) – I failed the test three times due to parallel parking. I’d been driving tractors and the truck for years on the farm but never had to parallel park. I can laugh about it now, too.

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    1. We are double proof that passing the driver’s test is related neither to intelligence or writing ability . . . tee-hee!

      Thanks for commenting, Carol. You first book has shipped to me from Amazon. I look forward to reading about your experience and observing how it compares to mine as an almost-farm girl. Thanks for the comment.

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