Sunday, May 9, 2010;
The spring of my 16th year I got my driver's permit. I signed up for driver's training that summer and tooled around town with three other students and Mr. DeGenaro -- a high school art teacher who also taught driver's ed. The class was as much fun as it was effort, and driving in that context -- with a calm, alert instructor who also had an extra brake in the passenger seat -- seemed easy. So, when I started to drive with my mother and 18-year-old sister, I was feeling rather confident.
Late that summer, my mother sent my sister and me to run an errand in town. I took the wheel in my family's yellow Pontiac Ventura, drove flawlessly downtown and pulled into a space in the parking lot. We made our purchase at the hardware store and jumped back in the Pontiac to drive home. I put the car in reverse and began to back out of the space. But I cut the turn too sharply and snagged our front bumper onto the front fender of the car parked on our right, hooking the vehicles.
My sister was furious and ordered me out of the driver's seat so she could get us out of the jam. She maneuvered the Pontiac and unhooked us from the neighboring car, all the while letting me have it about my lame driving skills.
But as she backed out, my sister -- who had had her own license for all of 18 months -- must have forgotten a key driving lesson: Pay attention. Still scolding me, she backed the car through one of the empty parking spaces in the row behind us and rammed into a light pole.
We drove home in silence.
Denise Rosile -- Leesburg
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