1928 - Alderson High School - 1968



Road Ramblin's
Barry Worrell
Sept., 2007

Can you remember getting your driver's licenses for the first time? I can tell some of you are smiling right now.  For me, the whole process was an unpleasant experience right from the time a bunch of us guys who were 16, piled in some guy's car and drove up to Lewisburg to get our learner's permit. When we got to the police station, we all herded in and sat down, only to be told is wasn't the right day. I felt guilty the moment we walked in to the station and had to face a very large state policeman with a gruff demeanor. Why I felt guilty I don't really know. I guess I had seen too many cop shows in the movies. The fact I wasn't very confident could have had also had something to do with it. I just remember feeling very intimidated and also very relieved to find out I didn't have to go thru the process at the moment.

The whole ordeal was too much for this 16 year old, so I didn't go back until I had turned 17.  With all my friends having their driver's licenses, it was logical for me to have one, and I finally got up the courage to go back and get my learners. This revealed another problem. We only had one vehicle. (How did we ever get along!) And it wasn't a car, it was 50's something Chevy truck. Gear shift on the floor, single bench seat with nylon seat covers. If you had the right pants on, you could create quite a static charge.

Fortunately for me, my friend Jim Meredith agreed to sacrifice his life to teach me to drive. I did pretty well until the night I convinced my step dad  to let us take the truck to Hinton. The trip down was un-eventful until we decided to go back home. After driving thru the business district of Hinton, I found myself going out of town thru a residential area and in the wrong direction. Since there was no traffic and the road fairly wide, Jim suggested I do a U-turn and it gave me a chance to practice a two point turn. In case you don't know what that is, I attempted a U-turn until it reached the curb on the left side of the street and then backed up a little so I could clear the curb and go in the other direction. Hmmm, maybe that's a three point turn. However, when I backed up, I went too far and ran over a small picket fence. Oh my gosh. I just had my first accident!  And, like the gutless scoundrels we were, We didn't stop to see if there was any damage or own up to it.

My next early driving adventure I accomplished all on my own, and as I recall , seems to be stranger than fiction. By now I had my licenses and was home alone one night when a fellow came to the door wanting my step dad to drive him home to the country, out Palestine Road. Since my folks were out with friends and the truck was with me, I offered to drive him.  Besides, this was just another chance to, "drive". So I drove him to his house about three or four miles and started back. I got almost as far as where the road goes down the hill in to the Palestine community. As you probable know that road is very narrow. The weeds in the ditches hadn't been cut in a while and had grown very high, about 5 feet. Coming around a curve, I was going a little too fast and put the entire right side of the truck in the ditch. Realizing this, I jerked the steering wheel to the left a little too hard. Here is where the formula of nylon seat covers plus a pair of gabardine pants equals a potential disaster. In jerking the wheel hard to the left, I slid as far to the right (no seatbelts) as I could go without letting go of the wheel. At this moment I was sitting beside the drivers seat, which is where I should be. The truck was rolling along with the right side being guided along by the sides of the ditch. To make things worse, the weeds seemed to be flying over the windshield limiting my vision, while I was trying to pull myself back to the driver position. I manage to do just that and forced the truck back on the road where I brought it to a halt. Of course this seemed to take a long time for this to happen, but in reality, only a few seconds. After I got control of myself, I checked for any damage and could find none. Fortunately there wasn't any debris in the ditch.

Since then I have had a few more incidents. Although I have never had a speeding ticket, I did get one moving violation. I've backed in to a couple of cars and almost ran my car thru the back of my garage when I thought my foot was on the break, and it was on the clutch.

I know all of you have had road experiences, good and bad. And, if you have some interesting ones you would like to share, please send them and I'll publish them on the Aldersonian.  In closing, if you come and see me, we'll go sight-seeing. But I have to drive.


For A. H. S. Ever Always - In Every Way For A. H. S.