By the time we moved to Ohio when I was thirteen...Maxine had given up driving (after getting the car stuck on the big rock). She did not drive for many years. After my father's first heart attack he encouraged mother to get a learner's permit. He knew she needed to be able to drive if something happened to him. She had many learner's permits. Each time the real driver's test came, Maxine would freeze and refuse to do it. She took a driver's lesson course and prided herself that her reflexes were better than the teenagers in her class. She always got 100% on the written tests, but when it came to getting in the car for the driving part...she just couldn't do it.
Since I had a small VW Dasher that was the right size for her to maneuver the city streets I would often take her on her practice drives. It made me a bit nervous that she liked to drive the freeways.... "Because there were not stop lights . Stop lights are too confusing. Especially when they have arrows," she would say.
Once, driving down Kenwood Blvd in Toledo...going a little too fast for my comfort level...she turned to me and said, "Did you see that bird on that sidewalk just sitting there? It had a huge yellow beak and its tail looked way too long for its body, and I have never seen such colors of red, black and white in that size of a bird..."
"Watch the road, watch the road," was all I could squeak out as my grip on the handhold was stopping my circulation and my right foot searched for the nonexistent brake. How could she see all those details on a bird? She wasn't the passenger...she was the driver!!!
My father was known for his patience. He was determined that Maxine would get her driver's license. He had made poles for parallel parking practice...just like the kind they would use for her test. We decided to practice in the parking lot of a school one Sunday. He would drive in his car carrying the poles and Maxine and I would follow in the Dasher...she would drive...and then use my car for parking practice. We were following my dad...Maxine was doing great...not too close...I was feeling good. Dad put on his turning signal to turn left and slowed down. Maxine kept driving...did not slow down.
He jumps out of his car, checks for damage. I'm out of the car before she puts it in park...shaking, but glad there was no big damage and we all survived. What I could not believe was listening to my dad.
"Maxine, it's okay...it was my fault...I should have turned faster." So, the lesson of when you ram into the back of the car in front of you it is your fault lesson was lost.
Once she got brave and tried the driving part of the test. I knew when she stormed from the parking lot ahead of the officer that she had failed it. "He knew all along I was not going to pass," she said. "When I hit the curb trying to parallel park I asked him if I could go around the block and try again....and he said to me, 'ma'm, it's not going to help, you failed it back at the first light.'"
There are many more incidents...but she finally got her license after my father died. She was 67. It took a few times...but with the help of family and friends she finally succeeded.