Thoughts on Parallel Parking

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How did my parents manage with just one car
in the early days of their marriage? It was the norm.
Mothers stayed at home with children. Shopping
for groceries must have been challenging.

My mother did not have a driving license until
my father taught her when she was 35. Imagine.
In Colorado, teens could drive at age 16.
My sisters could not wait to get a license.

Not I. Summers during college when
I returned home, I worked downtown at
a local bank as a bookkeeper. Busses ran
from Belmont to downtown every two hours.

My parents strongly encouraged me to get
a driver’s license in the event of an emergency.
Finally got mine at age 19. I highly recommend
not trying to teach your own children either.

My father, bless his heart, was a task
master, and I abhorred his parallel parking
lessons at the local high school on the weekend.
He stood about 6″ from the front of the car

and instructed me to drive forward. Of
course, I panicked and stalled the standard
shift car each and every time. Telling me I
was not going to hit him did not help me.

The first semester of my junior year was
spent at college and then I flew to Heidelberg,
Germany to study for three years, When I returned
to the US, I was in my mid-twenties. I had

not yet driven a car. Apparently my “emergency”
never materialized. My Uncle Joe gave me
a used car to drive for my first university job.
Later I would teach full-time and commute

two thousand miles per month for three
years to complete graduate work at another
university 90 miles away. Driving has been a
necessity for me. I can’t say I enjoyed it.

When our children were of driving age, we
opted to have them take private driving lessons
from a driving school instructor and driver’s
education classes at the local community college.

There are some things better left to professionals.
Driving lessons, music lessons, etc. I still
do NOT like parallel parking and will drive
until I find a parking space.

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This entry was posted in getting a driver's license, graduate work, parallel parking, U. of Heidelberg and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Thoughts on Parallel Parking

  1. Clare Pooley says:

    I hate parallel parking too! Sometimes I surprise myself and do it no trouble, but at other times…oh, dear!! I will avoid it if at all possible.
    What memories of driving and lessons! Two thousand miles a month for three years! My goodness, what a lot of driving. I only learned to drive at the age of thirty, through necessity and I don’t find it much of a pleasure either.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, how I smiled at your understanding comment, Clare. Whenever I attempted parallel parking, there seemed to be a line of impatient drivers behind me. I forgot to mention that during my first Fulbright year, I commuted once per week to Heidelberg for course work. I drove as fast as I could for 1 hrs. 45 min. one way and did the same at night. Our second family there watched our children and got them to bed. Studying in Geermany cost me nothing except gasoline and wear and tear on me. Where there’s a will; there’s a way, Clare. I am so glad that these trips and that driving are behind me. I fly to places now. And I managed to get five degrees during all my driving, teaching full-time and later, caring for the children. I had scholarships; otherwise, I would not have been so crazy. If you ever traveled to small German towns where parallel parking was the norm and two tires on the sidewalk too. In the Middle Ages, they never envisioned cars and trucks. Have a great weekend minus parallel parking.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Peter Klopp says:

    That was good advice for all parents to leave the task of driving lessons to the professionals. When my wife was in her thirties, we lived in a small town north of Calgary. There were no driving instructors, so I had to jump in and teach her how to drive. I must confess that the ‘lessons’ were quite a challenge for me and put a considerable strain on our relationship at that particular time. Thank you, for sharing your early driving experience with your dad, Mary Ann and have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter – thank you for the understanding comment. Leaving certain lessons in life to others is a great piece of advice given me by our former piano teacher. When kids are young, they need a personable teacher who gets along with them. Later, when they are better at piano, you can switch to a different type of teacher who might push them a bit more. It was expected of me when I began that I would practice one hour daily and later 4-6 hrs. daily in summer. Our two came home from piano, and I asked them how long the teacher expected them to practice. They didn’t know so I phoned and asked. She patiently explained to me that she taught them quality practice techniques rather than quantity. Oh, how kind and gentle. She brought them to the highest level and competitions which they did very well in their teens. Her advice was to “catch them early and by the time they were teens, they knew they could play well and wanted to continue lessons.” How simple and how great that advice turned out to be. I have empathy for both you and your wife and driving lessons, Peter. I laughed to myself but understood what you both experienced. I laugh now at my parallel parking techniques and how far away from the curb I was. We should have a group called “those who despise parallel parking, unite!” Haha. It is our long holiday weekend here and finally no rain, wind, hail and tornado warnings which we never used to get. Enjoy yours!

      Liked by 1 person

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