When I started driving, my parents gave me the old family car. A 1978 Mercury Zepher.
One of the first times I drove the car was when I was learning to drive. My dad had taken us, my brother Karl and I, out to drive. I did good getting off our street and making a left turn. Then we had to stop for gas. My dad never said anything about slowing down when turning into a driveway. So I turned the car into the gas station driveway at 35mph….and high centered the car on a bush and popped a brand new tire. My dad hollered at me to slow slow down as I was turning the corner. After I hit the bush, dad got out, looked at the damage, and told my brother and I to stay there. He walked home to get my mom and the camera. They took pictures of the car on the bush and I have never lived this one down. If I find the picture I will post it. Not to long ago, my mom and I were talking about this incident and she told me that my dad laughed all the way home, when he went to get another vehicle to bring my mom back….oh, and the bush didn’t survive the accident…it died a few years later.
On another occasion, I was driving home with my friend and two little girls that I babysat. I, for some reason, decided to take the side streets home instead of the freeway that night. While I was driving down the street, I saw little sparks coming out from under the hood. I asked my friend if she saw the sparks. She said yes and I immediately pulled the car off the road. When I stopped smoke filled the car. My friend and I quickly got out of the car and pulled the kids out of the back seat. We stood there for a minute and tried to figure out what we were going to do. I noticed a fire station down the street. So we walked over to the fire station and told the men inside that my car was on fire just up the road…the didn’t believe me. I told them again that my car was on fire and I wasn’t kidding them. They were getting ready to go out on a call with two fire trucks. Someone finally went outside with me to look, we saw a big black cloud of smoke and heard crackling noises coming from up the road. The fireman didn’t believe me because I was so calm about my car being on fire…back then I wasn’t one to panic easily. So one fire truck went to put my car fire our and the other went to the call that they had gotten just before I walked in the door.
They got the fire put out and found out there was a short in the headlight. We were extremely lucky that night. We had stopped and filled the tank on the car before we left to go home. One of the fireman told me that the only reason the car didn’t explode was because the gas tank was full. He said the fumes from the empty tank would have been explosive. I thanked God that night that I followed my instincts and filled my tank with gas, stayed off the freeway and drove on a road that had a fire station on it.
The next day, my dad had the fried car towed to my house. Not long after it arrived there, my dad’s friend showed up to take the car for parts. When I went out to greet him he said, “Hey, Hot Mama!”. ( The name was given to me because the car caught fire while I was driving it…not because he was hitting on me.)