Fifteen and Legal

“Do all of you know how to drive?” he asked. With an affirmative response from all three of us, Coach loaded us into the Drivers Ed car furnished by the local Chevrolet dealer in Canyon, Texas and gave the first day’s instructions.

It wasn’t unusual for fourteen and fifteen year old boys to know how to drive because we were taught at an early age. Until 1968, the legal age for attaining a Texas drivers license was fourteen: younger with hardship. Can you imagine turning your fourteen year old teenager loose on the world with a 4000 pound hunk of rolling metal? That scares me to death, but at fifteen, I was primed and ready to go.

The driving part of Drivers Education class lasted two weeks and my friends and I were in the very first group of the summer. We would get our licenses two weeks before most of our classmates, making the drag by ourselves while they stood around the A&W Drive Inn.

The summer of 1967 was the biggest and best of my life, and the memories are still vivid to this day. Finishing the last DE class on Friday morning, Walter and I headed to Amarillo to take our driving test with the intention of hitting the drag in Canyon that evening. The jealously raged as the hormones of teenage boys watched us cruise.

Later, I’ll tell you about my first car.

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