Grandpa’s Wallet – Driving License

driving licence

‘Restricted’. This made sense to me when I noticed, and I presume it was on the basis of my Grandpa’s age at the time of issue in 1963, a two-year license.

I don’t have a photograph to hand of my Grandpa’s car, but I feel sure I must have one somewhere. My memory is that it was large, rounded and dark, a Buick or Plymouth I imagine for no informed reason. I can only recall being driven in it once as a very young boy, so this in itself is an odd memory to have retained, as I must have been in the car more than that one journey.

It was into town, along that one main road in and out, so on the rise outwards where my Grandpa lived, down into town to park, as I have called it elsewhere, in that butterfly parking way common in American small towns, the cars at diagonal angles lining the single road either side: like splayed wings to each side of the body of a road.

We went into the bar/saloon, and I can’t imagine my Grandpa went for a drink – and I don’t have any memories of him drinking alcohol at home, just chewing tobacco and smoking a pipe and the occasional cigar – not least because he was driving, so perhaps just to meet up with and talk to a friend. It was a long dark narrow room with men in the back to the left, probably playing pool. I’m thinking I would have been around 8 years old, or younger, though I have no idea, so this is a strange recall.

I also remember feeling so completely safe being driven in the car. I sat in the back seat, I’m sure, and it was a huge space with the most wonderful comforting smell that I know as an olfactory memory but have no other way of defining in detail, and I don’t imagine it was leather as it seems to me it wouldn’t have been a car made to that expense.

My Grandpa drove into town so slow, but it wasn’t through uncertainty – again, this is all the surmise of thinking back all those years – and it was steady and sure and a consummate feeling for me of being safe and secure. How I will at the young age have instinctively transferred his love and care into a simple trip into town in a large car.

Consummate Journey

I’m sure, I’m sure
with Grandpa and secure

in that butterfly,

after he drove into town
to splay wings,

lining the road either side,
not to drink

I think; I think
having no idea,

but I am sure
feeling so completely safe

on that simple trip
into town

for no informed reason
down into a strange recall

because he was driving,
just chewing the

surmise, back all those years:
wonderfully comforting

to have retained –
memory is no expense.

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