Saturday, December 23, 2006

Mama's Puerto Rican Driver's License

For a few weeks before my father died, he had been teaching Mama to drive. She had to sell the car they had been buying early in her widowhood, so when she remarried, she had not driven in three years. Daddy, who was as madly in love with her as my father had been, bought her a brand new little jeep not long after they were married.

At that time, he was driving a lovely new Cadillac. Such was his besottedness on my mother, that before long she was driving the Cadillac and he was driving the Jeep. Years later he used to joke about how she turned her big brown eyes on him, and he just handed her his car keys. I can well believe that. If she had wanted to she could have had anything from him by turning those big brown eyes on him -- luckily for him it never occurred to her to work it.

Mama had been driving the Cadillac for about a year before we moved to Puerto Rico. When we got settled in there, Daddy brought home a driver's manual and announced that, just as they had studied Spanish together before we moved, they could study together for their Puerto Rican driver's licenses. Which was the first my mother had known that she was supposed to have a driver's license. She hadn't gotten far enough along with my father to get one yet, and Daddy had just assumed she had one.

Every time Daddy told this story he got pale in thinking about what could have happened had she been caught driving that expensive Cadillac without a license! But, you know I doubt that anything would have happened at all. I was in the car with her once, about a decade after that, when a California Highway Patrol officer pulled her over for speeding (Mama had a lead foot) and she just batted those big brown eyes at him and he never asked to see her license, just told her in his best "ah, shucks" manner that it would be a good idea to drive a little slower.


Ally Bean said...

My mother started driving without a license when she was 12. That was how it was in a small farm town.

When she was around 16 my grandpa went to the mayor and told him that she was ready for her license. The mayor said okay and sent one over for her the next day.

Can you imagine that today? Makes me smile just to think about it.

Ginnie said...

That was a pretty slick maneuver, swapping the Jeep for the Cadillac, but I'll bet he wanted the Jeep all the time. My husband was always doing that...buying me a present that he wanted (such as a hunting rifle!)
But then my eyes aren't brown so I guess I couldn't have used them to advantage like Granny could.

kenju said...

You need to post a photo of her, becasuse if she wwas that beguiling, we need to see it....LOL
Cute story!

Maya's Granny said...

Her picture is right over there in the left hand column, titled My Parents.

Anvilcloud said...

From Puerto Rico to Alaska with I don't know how many stops in between. You've been quite peripatetic (even if you didn't walk all of those miles).

kenju said...

Yes, I realized that right after I clicked publish...LOL
She was very pretty!
Merry Christmas!

Maya's Granny said...

26 towns in California before my 6th birthday, then Modesto, Stockton, Mission San Jose, Puerto Rico, Denver, El Paso, Roswell, back to California for San Mateo, Modesto, Berkeley, San Francisco, Redwood City, Fairbanks Alaska, back to California for Stockton, San Jose, Sacramento, and finally to Juneau. Definitely born under a wandering star.

J said...

Oh, Grandma and those big brown eyes!