By Jean Jamieson – Salmon Arm, B.C.
Thank goodness my two brothers and I spent our early childhood on the prairies! We lived at Yorkton, Sask. where the roads are mostly straight and level and the ditches fairly low.
In the mid-1930s my mother decided to buy a huge 1928 Essex car for $100. She had never driven a car, only horses, and had little knowledge about the automobile.
All she needed to obtain a license was $2 and she left the city office smiling happily.
Now, to drive the car, everyone seemed to give her advice. She finally started it and stopped it. Fortunately, there were very few vehicles on the road and they could be seen for miles ahead.
Mother decided to drive into the ditch when a car was approaching so she wouldn’t hit it. Sometimes, when it had been raining we got stuck in the mud.
When she hit the ditch everyone inside got shook up, ricocheting from one seat to the next like projectiles. There were no seatbelts and no restrictions on the number of passengers or car seats.
She generally drove at five miles an hour and a Sunday outing was only a five-mile jaunt. She was very goodhearted and packed in as many as she could. Everyone felt like sardines in a can.
Our garage was a flimsy, rickety structure. One day when she was driving into the garage she didn’t stop in time and ploughed right into the back wall. The boards went flying and the windshield was only a few inches from the wall.
When she decided to repair it she put an extension on the garage just to accommodate the motor end. We were the only ones who had a garage the shape of our car.
Once on a Sunday drive we met a skunk. My mother laid on the horn but the skunk seemed to be deaf and wouldn’t budge. Finally, he jumped up at the last moment and my mother hit him head-on.
When we stopped to get gas, the attendants wouldn’t come out of the garage. It was many moons before we could get rid of the smell.
We somehow managed to survive with only a few bumps and bruises, developing our muscles from pushing our old Essex out of the ditch.