It amazes me sometimes to think about the things we take for granted in today’s world. We talk, text or email people around the world from a little device we carry in our pockets. We scroll through hundreds of channels looking for a show to watch on television. Or to DVR so we can watch it later.
But it wasn’t always so. . . .
Ever hear of steering knobs? No? That proves you’re not quite as old as dirt.
Back during World War II—I’m not sure when they began installing them or when they quit—automobiles frequently had little knobs attached to the steering wheels. I guess in the days before power steering these knobs helped people get a better grip as they tried to turn. I drove back in those days and never had any problem making turns, but I’ll admit it took some muscle—particularly making sharp turns at low speeds.
My little sister was born when I was only four years old, and my grandmother, whom we called Mimi, came to stay with us for a few days to help my mother out. When she got ready to go back home, it was decided she’d take me with her to keep me out of Mother’s hair. My sister Barb couldn’t go, since she was a big girl in kindergarten at the time.
Although Fort Worth has normally mild winters, we had a pretty good snow storm while Mimi was here, and when we left snow covered the ground and streets. Mimi had on a heavy coat which she unbuttoned once we got in the car. I’m sure I was warmly dressed, too, but that’s not of great importance.
We drove straight up the street for two blocks, where we made a right turn in front of my sister’s school. Somehow as we made that turn, the knob on Mimi’s steering wheel got stuck in one of the buttonholes of her coat. When she let go of the wheel to straighten back out, nothing happened. The car kept turning toward the curb.
Mimi managed to stop the car before it jumped the curb or ran into anything. I’m sure she was creeping along on the snow-covered street, so she wouldn’t have had to slow much. The experience shook her up, though. I guess she had visions of injuring her eldest—well at that time only—grandson, or maybe damaging her car.
It turned out to be very minor, and we continued on our trip, but that event has always stuck in my mind for some reason. I guess the smallest thing can be magnified a thousand times in a child’s brain.
Ø Think of your early childhood—what things would blow your children’s or grandchildren’s minds compared to their lives today?
Ø How did some of these things impress themselves indelibly in your mind?
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