Breaking The Law

I might have an adventurous spirit, but I’ve always been considered a “good girl”.  I respect the rules and colour inside the lines.

Sometimes however, the adventurous spirit overrides the good girl and the rules get viewed more as “guidelines” rather than hard and fast thou-shalt-obey.  In my late teens, one of those circumstances arose.

Unlike most of my peers, I did not immediately get my driver’s license when I turned sixteen. I had a few unsuccessful attempts at driving with my brothers, which are stories by themselves.  Let’s just say I had some difficulty coordinating the principles of clutch-gas-brake.  Both brothers eventually refused to drive with me.

I lived in a very small town and I had no funds for driver’s education at school.  What was a girl with a desire for mobility to do? Drive anyway, of course!

My father had an old beat-up Sunbeam Arrow which he used as his mucking around vehicle.  It became *my* car when my parents weren’t home.  I happily buzzed around town whenever I could … for over 2 summers.  I wasn’t a complete idiot … driving without a license during a Northern Ontario winter wouldn’t be very clever.

It all fell apart one beautiful sunny summer afternoon.  Like many things on the Arrow, I knew the gas gauge didn’t work.  Armed with a rough estimate of miles per gallon, I kept careful track of the mileage driven – both mine and my dad’s.  My calculations fell apart on me that day and I ran out of gas not far from the beach.

Did I mention it was a small town?

Virtually nothing was open on a Sunday afternoon in a small town in the 1970s.  Nor were we all carrying cell phones.  My fear was two-fold. Either my parents would return before I could get the car back home, or the police would come by to investigate a ‘parked’ car in a no-stopping zone.  Worst case scenario was that both would happen.  I was a bundle of nerves.  The thought of breaking the 11th Commandment – Thou Shalt Not Get Caught – was horrifying to me.

I managed to find a friend with access to a car, an open gas station was found, and the Arrow was returned to its proper place without further incident.  Disaster averted, or so I thought.

Did I mention it was a small town?

The next day when I returned home for lunch from my summer job, I found my father absolutely furious with my younger sister.  Someone had, of course, noticed the car stopped on the road by the beach with one of his daughters behind the wheel. It was assumed to be Tina – the “wild one”.

I admit it was several very long minutes before I finally interrupted my father’s tirade and confessed to the crime.  There was stunned silence.

I don’t know if he had simply used up all his anger on my sister, but my dad finally replied “you’re worse than your brothers” and nothing more was said.  I felt relief that I wasn’t going to be subjected to an angry lecture, embarrassed by my feelings of guilt, and vaguely insulted at being lumped into the same category as my brothers and their numerous bad-boy antics over the years.

To this day, however, my sister still carries a bit of a grudge that it was simply assumed that she was the guilty one. Even worse … I got off scott-free.

Snow#2 0202

1977. Me and *My* Arrow …. after I finally got my driver’s license.

This post was inspired by the WP Daily Post prompt “Breaking The Law“.

 

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Adventure, Family and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

74 Responses to Breaking The Law

  1. reocochran says:

    I enjoy going back into people’s blogs to find a cool story as this one was! 🙂

    Like

  2. Oh, I am very pleased to know this about you, Joanne. Could be useful…….. 😛
    I was a good girl who fell in with bad people at 16. No unlicensed driving but we did sneak into pubs and I do recall wandering the streets at 4am drunk on tequila. All the while, I knew it was wrong and it ate away at my poor little goody soul. I found a new set of more acceptable friends the next year. I couldn’t stand the guilt. And I’m not Catholic. Imagine if I were!

    Like

  3. mickscogs says:

    Great story. You write them well

    Like

  4. What a fun post – I too drove without a license for a while and your post brought back memories…in fact I think I may have had that car after you since it looks awfully familiar!

    Like

  5. LB says:

    Love this story! It’s one my son would appreciate. Soon after we’d moved to our new small town, he was surprised to find out that he couldn’t leave the school grounds to walk across the bridge to McDonalds. Someone had told me before the day was out. HA!

    Like

  6. Joe says:

    What a great post Joanne 😄

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  7. The 11th Commandment? Was that inscribed on the third tablet that Moses left on the Mount?

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  8. Lynn says:

    What a fun post Joanne! I too, was the “child” that seemingly did not push the envelope (in my parents eyes). My older brother was often found guilty before proving his innocence!

    Love the picture! I think I may have had a turtleneck just like yours!

    Like

  9. Pingback: Daily Prompt, Breaking the Law | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice

  10. A funny story to read but I’m sure it caused you a lot of anxiety at the time. I enjoyed reading it, always good to look back at funny things we did in our youth x

    Like

  11. Mrs. P says:

    Learning to drive a stick was tough for me too until one day at lunch a friend took me to an empty lot, drove up to a tree, showed me the basics and said go have at it. He got out of the car and sat by the tree eating his lunch while I drove around and ground his gears frequently. Eventually I ground the less and less. Half embarrassed and half happy that this guy didn’t seem to mind at all.

    Then one day on my lunch hour I decided I wanted to buy a car I was determined to get a stick shift, though I hadn’t done any more practice driving. I made the dealer drive the car around the area and on the freeway. I knew what it was supposed to sound like, I just wasn’t good at driving it. I told him I wanted the car and he refused to sell it to me unless I drove it in the parking lot, which I did. While I was waiting for the loan papers to go through they gave me a loaner car…yep…a stick. I did fine as long as I didn’t have to stop. Wouldn’t you know every light was a red light. I stalled out about four times getting back to work. Later that day the paperwork went through and I got the car…though I was a wreck the first week, I learned to drive it well and quickly.

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    • joannesisco says:

      That’s exactly what I did with my sons when they first started to drive. An large empty parking lot is a great place to get the feel of a car in a non-threatening environment.

      I think it’s good for everyone to know how to drive a standard, but it takes some coordination and a bit of practice in the beginning!

      Like

  12. Would it surprise you to learn that I, too, drove illegally? I pulled my little criminal act the year I lived with my Minnesota grandmother (long story.) She had a yellow Ford Fairlane which she taught me to drive in along the long straight Minnesota country roads. So naturally while she was at work (she walked), I would avail myself of the car. AND one of her Old Gold cigarettes. OMG. So one day I turned a corner and left a long scrape along her car door and returned it home in a cold sweat. She never did a thing to me, never accused me, and I never took that car again. The whole experience left me so rattled I didn’t get my license until I was 20! Then a few years later BH taught me to drive a stick with enough bucking and bolting to seem like a rodeo. If Jen had ever taken a car out without a license, she would have been grounded for life. Good Girls just have to have a little fun, don’t we? Wonderful post!

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    • joannesisco says:

      You’re a bad girl too!! That is too funny!!
      I was 19 when I finally got my license. After I got caught, there didn’t seem to be any reason not to formally go through the process. I had already been driving for a while.
      I’m surprised your grandmother’s Fairlane wasn’t a standard with a column shift. The only Fairlanes I encountered were all column shift and they were BRUTAL to drive!!
      Bless your grandmother for (1) teaching you to drive (2) not calling you out for driving and scratching her car!!

      Like

      • No, it must have been a newer model. It would have been 1972 and it was yellow, i remember. My grandmother was awesome and did not deserve to have her car scratched up like that. I think she knew I was smoking too. And the closest BH and I ever came to divorce was when he was teaching me to drive a standard. He actually snarled at me once…”What are you, thick?” Can you imagine!!! COL!!!!

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  13. M-R says:

    MONSTER.
    [grin]

    Like

  14. treerabold says:

    What a fun post! Sadly I am in the same boat as Sue. I spent a lot of time doing stuff that I should not have done and most of it had to do with partying! Fortunately I had an older brother that did much worse and my parents were pretty tired by the time I got to that age!
    I’m just glad we all lived through the craziness of our teens to tell about it.

    Like

  15. NancyTex says:

    You rebel, you! I love it!!

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  16. Great on so many levels, not least of which is the old pic of you and ‘your arrow’. I guess years of good behavior paid off!

    Like

  17. bikerchick57 says:

    I love that photo. Takes me back to the 70’s when I first learned to drive and wore cool striped turtlenecks and bell bottoms. My first car was a red Volkswagon bug with stick shift. The heater didn’t work well, but I loved driving that thing. I never broke the 11th commandment, but then again, I didn’t do much that was bad except go to the rock quarry to swim after school and not tell my mom. She was hot.

    Like

  18. 😀 😀 😀 As luck would have it or the eleventh commandment. Naughty, naughty girl. ❤
    Can you share a hint about what area of Northern Ontario you lived. Even a town close by?

    Like

  19. Sammy D. says:

    Thou shalt not get caught… Hilarious 😋 oh man, I remember those blue jeans ‘n turtleneck days. Really ugly turtlenecks! You, on the other hand, are too cute to ever be “the wild one”!!

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      LOL! So true about the turtlenecks! I loved that green striped turtleneck … but I look at the pictures now and wonder why 🙂
      Thank you for thinking I was cute! I’ll take it! 🙂

      Like

  20. Heyjude says:

    I loved this post about your teenage self Jo, more please!!

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  21. Oh my God, I want more of these little tales. Sibling rivalry, disappointed parents, small town criminality and the 11th commandment.. lol. Brilliant! Loving the retro photo too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Joanne…..you bad bad girl! I’m now sure that this is only one of many stories you can amuse us with along this line….perhaps you should do a series for us……they say confession is good for the soul! 🙂

    Like

  23. Jordan Simard says:

    I’ve heard this story so many times, and I love it every time, just the same 🙂

    Like

  24. I recall our discussion regarding the eleventh commandment and urban exploring or some such. Now I have a better understanding! Fun post!

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  25. Sue Slaght says:

    Joanne I love this post. Oh the 11th commandment I recall oh so well growing up in small town Saskatchewan. What on earth is on top of your car by the way?

    Like

    • joannesisco says:

      LOL! I figured most small towns were the same and the rules got ‘bent’ a lot more than in the city. There’s a lot of mischief that goes on in a small town 😉 I’m sure you had more than your fair share!

      On top of the car is a flat bottom boat of sorts. It has wheels at one end so it can be rolled to the water if necessary … ie when road access doesn’t allow a car close to the water. It was the oddest little thing – and seemed to fit right in with the odd little car 🙂

      My parents had a tiny cabin on an island and a boat was required to get there. My younger sister – yes, poor maligned Tina – now owns the island.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sue Slaght says:

        Well at least Tina got something out of the deal. 🙂 I think the fact that you are carrying a boat on a car that has wheels deserves a post unto itself!
        Oh Joanne I was a terrible teenager. I mean I was top of the class, on every sports team, summer jobs lifeguarding…but the partying…I would have killed my kids for similar.

        Like

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