Friday, January 1, 2010

Learning to drive in the early days

My uncle, Francis Herde (1907-2009), was the first in the family to own an automobile. Today, we are taught to drive by someone else. We may even hire a company to teach us to learn to drive. We study driving laws, then we take the driving test. We get a license.

But back then, there were no classes (that I know of) and there wasn't anyone around to teach Uncle Francis how to drive. He taught himself how to drive by using the manual that came with the automobile! I'm going to guess that this was probably between 1927-1935.

Herde family lore says that Francis persuaded his father, August L. Herde (1876-1974) to drive the car. August ended up losing control and driving into a bale of hay. The joke was that they said August said "Whoa!" to the car, like someone would to a horse. I suppose he probably did, since horses were what he was accustomed to 'driving,' but I don't think he ever confused that car with a horse!

Come to think of it though, I never remember my grandfather August Herde having a car. I think I remember his wife Susie Herde (1886-1973) driving, but I don't remember ever seeing Pop drive. I know he walked to town (Billings, Oklahoma) to buy a newspaper and visit a little bit every day. He walked to town until his death at age 98.


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