I want to tell you about my 16th birthday and why it was so important. I wanted to get my driving license because dad bought a new car on my brother’s safe return from his tour of duty in the Navy. It was a Kaiser automobile and we girls did not want to be left out of getting our turn to drive it.
I needed to have someone take time to teach me beside my brothers who were always too busy. My one brother had a friend who was one year older than he was that had an old Hudson car with a stick shift. He took me under his wing and taught me to drive before I turned 16 so that I could go take the test on that day. That's him on the right in this picture.
I passed both the written and driving including parallel parking with flying colors. My dad was so impressed that he arranged for me to drive him to Reading, Pennsylvania so he could visit some of the Greeks he brought over to this country.
I learned on flat country roads and when I got to Pennsylvania there are hills and more hills. When I had to stop on top of a hill with my foot on the clutch and the other on the brake so I would not stall or roll back my heart was in my mouth many times. I do feel now that it made me a better driver.
My second sister learned on Mr. Millers’ Buick Roadmaster with an automatic transmission. Now my third sister was not in a hurry to learn how to drive but when she did she bought herself a Chevy.
You can imagine just how much we are alike even though she is seven years older. We worked in the restaurant together and knew how to have fun and work at the same time,. She had a good attitude and took things in stride.
My best friend B.J. in high school, her dad owned the drug store across the street from the restaurant and when we worked after school and evenings we were able to wave at each other. That's her on the right. Their store had a soda fountain and many of the kids use to meet there and when the restaurant had a lull I use to run across the street to join in while keeping an eye on our place. Like I said had my sister had a good attitude and did not mind.
In fact when B.J and I wanted to skip an afternoon study hall she use to write us both an excuse. We left school early many times. About these notes one day she played joke on us and we did not know it until we got to school. She wrote,” Dear Mr. Walzer please use one of the other excuses because I am tired of writing them. ‘
I want to mention here the fun my sister and I had with each other and the regular customers. We had one in particular that like to play jokes on us and of course that worked both ways. His name was Gordon and he worked as a foreman in the service department of an automobile dealership. He came in on his coffee break at the same time every workday.
One day he did not show up and every time the different regulars would come in they would ask where is Gordon? When Gordon did show up he didn’t sit at his usual place at the counter where we had his coffee waiting but came in and slid in a booth where a lady was sitting all by herself. Gordon was very quiet and not being the talkative person that we saw daily. Come to find out this was his wife. She had heard so much from the shop people about the “girls” down at the restaurant that she had to come in and see for herself.
She was a good sport and realized it was all in fun and then she too would join in the fun.
The man who owned the cigar store always came in for coffee and we called him “grand pop”. He always wore a felt hat no matter what the temperature. He had many hats but one in particular was an old brown one . The men always removed their hats when inside and use to put them on the counter in front of them. One day when we were in our fun mood we kidded Grand Pop about his hat being too warm for the day and we would help him by making it air conditioned. I took his hat and cut holes all over the hat making it look very funny. It seemed that some of the people who knew him well got involved and would say here’s a spot for us to cut another hole. He was a good sport and I am thankful that he liked us.
I guess I am getting carried away with some of these stories. But I wanted you to know my sister is 86 year old and although she is not as lively as she used to be, she is still lots of fun. As I talk to her on the telephone and remember some of these stories we laugh a great deal. Neither of us can hear too well and miss a lot that was said because we both wear hearing aids, but we thank the Lord for good memories.
Until next time, I am Immigrant Daughter still having fun!