This was one of my favorite songs when I was in college. Now, even though it’s about love gone wrong, it makes me think of my dad, especially when the vocalist sings, “Who’s gonna drive you home tonight?”
In 1973, when I started the sixth grade after we moved to Sheridan, Wyoming, my dad insisted I walk to and from school. I’d always wanted to do this, having read stories about other kids walking to and from school every day. In Tucson, Arizona, where we’d lived before, this hadn’t been possible because the state school for the blind, where I spent the first five and a half years of my education, and then the Miles Exploratory Learning Center, where I was mainstreamed six months before we moved to Wyoming, were miles away from our home.
But here in Sheridan, our first house was just up the hill from the elementary school. So, walking to and from school was easy, except in winter when snow and ice made the hill treacherous. Occasionally, Mother or Dad drove me, but most of the time, I walked.
When I started seventh grade, the junior high school was a mile away. Dad claimed he’d walked that far when he was a kid, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that, and Mother agreed with me. She and I prevailed, and I only walked a few blocks to and from the bus stop each day.
In the spring of my eighth grade year, we moved to another house that wasn’t within a school bus route. So, I had no choice but to walk the mile to and from school each day. The good part of this was that my route took me through downtown Sheridan, and I often stopped at a cafe for a milkshake on my way home from school.
The high school was closer, but the route there was difficult, taking me across a busy street, with no lights or stop signs, and up a hill that was treacherous during the winter months. In favorable weather, I walked, and it’s a wonder I’m still here to tell the tale, not having been killed while crossing that busy street. In the winter, Dad or Mother drove me, and Dad often grumped about doing this.
Now, here’s the irony. As an adult, after completing my music therapy internship and moving back to Sheridan and finding an apartment and a job, Dad said he regretted being so hard on me about walking to and from school. On the contrary, I told him, I’m glad he encouraged me to walk when I could. Because participation in physical education classes was difficult due to my visual impairment, walking to and from school gave me some much-needed exercise.
A few years after I started my job at the nursing home, Dad sold his coin-operated machine business. This gave him more time. So, he was available more often when I needed a ride. I used the local transit service to get to work, but sometimes, I wasn’t finished until five thirty in the evening when their buses were no longer running. In those cases, Dad often picked me up after work.
After I married Bill and after he suffered his strokes, Dad often gave us rides when the transit service wasn’t running. When we acquired a wheelchair accessible van, Dad was our main driver. After Bill passed, and I sold the van, Dad still gave me rides when I needed them and couldn’t use the transit service.
Dad left this world suddenly in 2013, not having a chance to wonder who would drive me home or anywhere else. I’d like to think that he, like Bill, is watching me from above and at peace, knowing I can usually get a ride, either from the transit service or from friends.
Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books
When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.
Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.