A Moment of Accession……..#59 (the 50’s)


Once achieving the age of 13, capturing the appellation age of teenager,  the next pinnacle event in a  life’s journey is one that every teen awaits,  the moment of accession that is endowed at 16 years of age,  able to  anoint the automotive licensed cadre and obtaining the freedom to abound.  Gary remembering the past when applying for his Learner’s Permit on the way to the San Leandro DMV,  his Dad questioned whether he had thoroughly studied the drivers manual.  The Lad explaining  he had just completed Drivers Education,  which was a requirement to graduate from high school and  the class quizzed on  all 120 exam question prepared for the four variations of the DMV test.   Upon receiving his driving permit prior to his sixteenth birthday, with  dad’s watchful eye monitoring his driving the 48 Chevrolet, since it was the first column shift the youth had driven, allowing him more behind the wheel experience to gain comfort with his road savvy driving.   The pinnacle driving episode for the learners permit driver was when allowed to drive the 41 Chevrolet Pickup from their Sierra Mountain retreat in Pioneer to Oakland,  a 2 1/2 hour drive,  traversing the well-traveled windy Altamont Pass with it’s bay-area’s Sunday night traffic.

1941 Pickup – non sychromesh 4 speed transmission Chevy.

48 Chevrolet – The driving test vehicle

Gary’s sixteenth birthday having been accomplished, awaiting  the opportunity to prove himself worthy of receiving that all important vested document,  a driver’s license.   His audience with the DMV would be the coming Saturday,  asking permission to take the car across Mountain Blvd. on Keller Ave. to a divided pavement area that was a site for a never completed proposed subdivision.   It was the perfect accommodation to practice his parallel parking,  which was a driver’s test requirement.  With the 1948 Chevrolet,  two saw-horses for markers, his dad not accompanying him allowing Gary to take the car for the six block journey.  The added parallel parking practice increasing his proficiency and a sense of confidence that he was better prepared for the DMV.

Gary having heard stories at school about those first attempt failures, having no desire to join the ranks of the abortive. His father having never been critical of his driving,  but did offer some advice as a teamster, always drive with anticipation, never assumption.  During the evaluative drive, the DMV representative with clips board and pencil in hand issued directions.   Gary being very cognizant,  giving correct hand signals, over emphasizing looking behind and checking his mirrors, insuring his attentiveness was noticed.  He was instructed to perform a turn-about in a residential area and proceed back to the pylon for parallel parking. He was absolute in backing the Chevy up,  observing the first pylon was parallel to the rear of driver seat,  he maneuvered the vehicle toward the cub,  executing a perfect park as rehearsed at home.

The ride home was silent, almost anti-climactic, Gary wondering what his Dad’s thoughts might be, his son advancing further into an adult world.   Aware that his father had been on his own since the age of sixteen,  with no home or mentoring guidance,  forced to leave school, a young person reaching for an anchor to moor himself to for a better life. The teen was appreciative of his expanding world and the evolving changes, ever thankful for the security of a caring family and friends.  Gary expectation were fulfilled once arriving home, finding a jubilant family with adulation for his achievement, concluding from the day’s event that milestones in life are sometimes but fleeting moments.

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