I was really enjoying my job at the Anaheim, California Broadway department store. I was enjoying the financial independence of bringing home my own paycheck. For the first time in my life I was feeling a little bit of freedom from my family.
The car culture was very important in the 1950s. Many kids had their own car and most of the kids my age knew how to drive. Most kids had taken driver's education classes at school. But the classes were offered in the sophmore year; I had spent my sophmore year in Hawaii, and there was no driver's education classes in Hawaii at that time. Even though I was sixteen years old, I still did not know how to drive and no one in my family was going to give me a car or make driving an easy task for me. So in order to get to and from my job, I had to depend on other kids. I paid for the gas and received rides from other people working at the store.
Most of the time my trip was just a normal drive to and from the store. But one night coming home, we had a different driver. He was the boyfriend of a girl I had been riding with. It was late at night and we were returning home. The boyfriend decided to drag race with another car on the freeway. We sped through traffic reaching speeds between 90 mph and 100 mph. I was in the back seat, scared, but unwilling to complain. I held on hoping for the best and fortunately, we made it home okay. But it had been scary for me as my mother's sister had been killed in a car that had been drag racing.
Another time when we left the store late at night there was a thick fog. The girl who was driving could barely see our surroundings and at one point, we both had to get out of the car and look at the street sign to see where we were. It took us several hours to find our way home, but we managed to make it safely.
My independence was being held back by my inability to drive a car, and so I decided to sign up for the driver's education class offered at school. I would take driver's education during the spring semester and was to have learned the actual driving during the summer of 1959. It would, unfortunately, not take place as we would move on before I ever learned to drive.