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Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014

Gray Matters: Driver's licenses

Monday, June 7, 2010

My driver's license is no longer of use to me as I gifted my car to a grandson before leaving my home in Cherokee County. I have now learned that an Identification Card to replace that function of a driver's license may be obtained at the licensing office, so I am planning a visit there in the next few days.

Talking about all of this brought up the matter of driver's licenses in general. I can't seem to find out when they were first issued, but I did learn that it was in 1937 that the Highway Patrol took over the process. That was the year I turned 16, so perhaps it was that official presence that made such an impression on me.

I don't remember studying much in advance before taking whatever form of test was required, but I must have passed it. My dad had taught me to drive quite competently so the driving part couldn't have been a particular challenge either. Anyway, I was one happy gal when I had that special little piece of cardboard in hand.

I judiciously remembered to renew it every four years, as required, with one exception. Not too many years ago I slipped up and it was a bit of a struggle to bone up on the manual and go through all of the rigmarole to regain my precious license. I didn't let that happen again!

Thinking back, it doesn't seem to me that we took those matters as seriously as we might have, or perhaps it was just my particular rural neighborhood. I distinctly remember a classmate of mine, an only girl with three much older brothers, who was even more of a tom-boy than I. Her mother had never learned to drive.

So, from the time she was about twelve, we often saw her taking her mom to town to do the weekly shopping. That's just the way it was and we thought nothing of it. As soon as she was big enough to see over the steering wheel (probably with the aid of a hefty pillow on the seat) she was driving.

I also began thinking about stop signs and speed limits, which amused me a bit. Actually, I wonder if those early cars had enough power for speeding to be much of a problem, but I may be wrong. Then the limited area in which I drove wasn't traveled heavily enough to need a lot of controlling signs.

When we went to the "big city," that was Fort Dodge, which would be comparable to Cherokee County residents driving to Sioux City, I'm sure there were signs, and probably even stop lights, through which I soon learned to maneuver.

Once more, I would love to have my readers' recollections to compare with my own. I'm sure many of the guys honed their driving skills on the family tractor, as wide open fields allowed a much greater margin for error.

At any rate, do enjoy your reminiscing, for it can be a lot of fun. That, of course, may not always be true because, it force us to be aware of the swiftly passing years. I like to avoid that, if possible, as I'm reluctant to admit that I'm really becoming an Old Lady.

That would never do!