#8 (Learning to Drive)


H'omage to YSL. Necklace of orange jasper beads and vintage Czech glass rectangle spacers. Topped with a tiny bottle of Yves Saint Laurent Opium perfume with a black tassel.
H’omage to YSL. Necklace of orange jasper beads and vintage Czech glass rectangle spacers. Topped with a tiny bottle of Yves Saint Laurent Opium perfume with a black tassel.
Faceted pale peach agate beads with golden beadcaps frame a beautiful carved vintage cameo. GF toggle clasp.
Faceted pale peach agate beads with golden beadcaps frame a beautiful carved vintage cameo. GF doggle clasp.

Some more creations. I can’t help myself — it’s so much fun!

Moving right along through my wicked, wicked ways at Mary Washington!

The Social Prohibition sentence also prohibited us from leaving campus without prior permission. This proved to be a problem as I was applying for jobs. Back when I applied, it was Esso. before they changed it to Exxon. (First choice for the new name was Exon, but evidently, this meant something awful in the language where they had offices.) Esso called to set up an interview but I had to “put them on hold” while I got permission to leave campus. The same with the interview at Lederle/Cyanamid in Wayne, New Jersey.

The Esso interview was in two parts. The first visit was at the labs in Bayonne, New Jersey. The interview was really strange. They sent me to meet with a scientist in a laboratory who evidently was not too thrilled to have to interview some girl from Virginia. He spent most of the pacing and muttering and the interview was finally over. The second part was out at Esso Research and Engineering, in Florham Park, New Jersey. This part was great. I knew from experience that I was a disaster waiting to happen in a laboratory, so it was a relief to find out this job dealt with numbers! I was thrilled when I received an offer from ER&E.

Now all I needed was to find a way to get to Florham Park. I was scheduled to report to work on July 1,1961.  At that point, my parents were living in a tiny house in HoHoKus, New Jersey. I must have been rather backward in my thinking if I even thought at all. So when I graduated from Mary Washington, I moved back home. It didn’t even occur to me to do anything else.

But first, I had to get a car. I had never driven a car, much less owned one. I had gone down to the shore with Mimi (a good friend from college) and her parents had a 1959 Ford Galaxy 500. I thought it was the most beautiful car I had ever seen (except for my uncle’s 1939 dark blue Packard convertible with red leather seats). So I went shopping for a car. I found a 1959 Ford Galaxy 500 that was perfect. I had been told to be sure to get a mechanic to check it out, so I asked the dealer to have a mechanic check it out. Sure enough, it was reported out to be in perfect condition. And I became the proud owner.

My first car!
My first car!

Then I had to learn how to drive. Mother was busy teaching school so my father took it upon himself to teach me. And I think he did a pretty good job.

Then, of course, I had to get a driver’s license. I was so embarrassed that not only did my mother have to drive me to work my first day, but then had to drive me to the driver’s test. The first challenge was when the inspector had me drive up a slight incline and then stop. Between the new brakes being very hard to press and my knee shaking, we started to roll back down the incline and the inspector had to put his foot over mine of the brake to stop the car. He told me not to worry, I could take the test again in 14 days. Further on, came parallel parking. I had never parallel parked. I had seen people parallel park, so I sort of mimicked what I had seen them do. The next thing, the inspector asked me if I could see any of the red cones behind me. I said “No” and he said that was because I had knocked them all down. That was the last stop of the test and when we got to the uploading place, I was so sure that I had failed that I just got out of the car and walked away. I had to go back and get the car. Can you believe it? I passed! So off I went into the wild blue yonder.

My father, who I loved dearly, was the one to tell me that it would be better for me if I moved to a place of my own. I know that was probably a hard thing for him to do but what happened was that my parents were going to move to an apartment in Ridgewood where mother was teaching. And the apartment had only one bedroom.

I found another girl at work who was looking for an apartment. We were lucky enough to find a two-bedroom apartment in a wonderful old apartment building on 67 South Munn Avenue in South Orange, just off the Garden State Parkway. 

There were even two penthouses (actually two small houses with fences and everything on the roof of the building.) Our apartment was at the opposite extreme — in the basement. I remember we would get on the elevator full of other residents and say “Down” much to everyone’s surprise. But it was a real apartment — an exact copy of the apartments upstairs. We even had a fireplace. The only problem was that the windows were at ground level and I could always envision someone walking their dog outside and the dog peeing in one of our windows! Never did happen though.

More Continuing Saga to come  . . .

Meanwhile, check out our other website to find bold and beautiful handmade jewelry https://gibsongrafe.com


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *