Underage Driving | 31 Days of Growing Up

Growing up, we had a common fascination with cars and driving.

For some occasion, likely Christmas, we, likely my brothers, got a rug printed with an imaginary town complete with stores, houses, and, of course, roads. We made up stories about the various townspeople's lives, and drove matchbox cars around the map, going to work, stopping at the store, meeting friends for supper.

When the weather was nice, we drew chalk roads on our long, paved driveway, pointed out where our houses were "out in the country" several yards out in the front yard near the oak trees or down the walkway next to the garage leading to the backyard, and then pretended our bikes were cars. We also had a toy car that you could sit in and peddle and steer with a tiny steering wheel; of course, we liked pushing each other instead so it was more realistic for the driver.

Sometimes we would all climb into our big van and pretend we were driving somewhere. The steering wheel turned just slightly, but it was just enough for our imaginations. And when we were a little older, once in a while we would be asked to "back the van up" from where it had been parked in front of the garage to the turnaround. This was a privilege and almost a rite of passage in our minds.

The riding lawnmower was the closest we got to actually driving. We weren't allowed to mow the grass until we were much older, but we did spend many hours tooling around the yard and along the chalk roads, with younger siblings sitting in various wagons, carts, or sleds roped onto the back of the tractor.

And then I was actually old enough to take drivers ed, and it wasn't pretend anymore.


  1. Do you remember driving the truck down the one lane track between the swamp and then around the dirt "roads" that were somehow indelibly marked in the grass clearing behind the Cheboygan house? You even used turn signals. Maybe that's why you are all such good, natural drivers!