My Aunt let me learn driving her 1975 Buick Regal. Know what? When you're 14 and just see over the top of the door just about a half a foot, the beg center buckle on that state trooper's gunbelt looks like it's about half a foot tall and 4 inches wide. He informed my Aunt I could get a learner's permit but for now she needed to drive cause I was weaving a bit. He saw in the mirror he had gotten behind us and I told her and she did this slight half turn of her body and confirmed indeed he wa right behind us. 20 seconds later I asked if his light (One big red round top bubble-gum light in those days) was on. She told me she wasn't looking again and that's about when we heard the siren go WHOOP!! Yep, it was on.
My dad had a big Dodge panel van he used to deliver Antique furniture from a shop he ran for many years and I also learned in that. And our family car was a 1971 Buick Electra Estate Wagon. A land barge if there ever was one. I always sat in the third seat all the way back on vacations so Dad couldn't reach back there to swack at me when he got annoyed at whatever parent mind peace destroying annoyance my siblings and I were instigating on long trips to Georgia from Louisiana in the summers of my kid-hood. Dad was from La. mom was from GA. and he'd promised her he'd bring her back each year so away we'd go. But I also learned to drive in that monster that you could play football on the hood. And I took my driver's test in that thing too. Parallel parking in on a supremely crowded main street. Stopping UNDER a red light because I miscalculated the braking time to stop properly, so under the light was where I stopped so as to not throw the examiner through the windshield. AND when I got stopped I actually had to lean forward & put my chin on the wheel to look UP through that blue thing across the top of the W/S to be able tosee when the light changed. I shot a sideways glance at the exam guy and told myself I'm sunk. I destroyed this. And I wanted that license because I had a job waiting at the local AM-FM radio station if I could get that license. We returned to the State Police office and he got out and went in without a word. I went in and sat down and awaited my fate. He came to me with a grim look on his face: I passed. SO at 14 I got my first DL. (It's 16 now but they were very lenient in those days. You could get a DL at 14. You know, to help out on the farm. I went to the radio station! In 76 I got my first car, a second hand 71 Buick LeSabre 4dr 350 2bbl. A TANK. But it released the station wagon back to my mom because she and i had to trade it back and forth for different purposes.
Back in my early days when you get new licenses the people at the DMV were supposed to destroy your old one. In those days before instant picture licenses they could hand you right then, your photo license came in the mail about two weeks after you went in for a renewal or whatever. But they'd chop off the pic part and staple to your new temp lic to use till you got the new one in the mail. I saved each one of those chop jobs and later when I became a Deputy Sheriff the nice ladies at the DMV stopped chopping them up and just let me keep them. SO I have them all ever since 1974 in my photo album. You can watch me grow up get old and less hairy every few years. This one is my first renewal in 1977 after the original I was issued in 74 at 14.. The pic you see is off of that first license, that's me at 14 YOA. Boy I WISH I could go back and tell that kid a few things... Sorry for being long winded, kinda opened up some things I hadn't thought of for a LONG time..
I LOVED the 70's and 80's. Oh, and here is a pic of the exact car I took that under the red light driving test in. It had a 455 but I stupidly tried to make it scratch on a dare by rolling backwards and dropping it into drive and stomping it. All it did was SURGE upwards and forward like a perplexed elephant.. I was lucky I didn't rip out the tranny. If you look closely you can see my 3rd seat redoubt in the very back of that barge! I wrecked it in early 76, slid off the road in a rainstorm and hit a tree. put it in the shop 3 mos. Boy was my dad p- well, you know. I hated driving that monster.