Drive, Drive, Drive
I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of a car. As I grew up in the town of Belleville, NJ, at the age of 11 or 12, I would ask my dad to let me steer the car as he drove. I sat next to him on the bench seat of his 1978 Chevy Nova 4 door. My older brother, sister, and a friend or two, always needed to go somewhere, and I was always willing to take the ride. We went local to Drew’s Hobby Center in Nutley, NJ or as far as the Willow brook Mall in Wayne. I would steer the car with my left hand, and braking and accelerating with my left foot, yes my left foot! My driving skills would improve each time I was able to get next to the wheel. Any chance I would get to move the car and turn it around, I was thrilled to do so. I and my family lived on a dead end street called May Street, along Hendricks Field, our local golf course. The street was narrow and free of traffic, which allowed me to venture into the street with the car and turn it around to back up the driveway between our house and the neighbors. None of the neighbors seemed to mind that I was always moving the car. My neighbors were cool with me because I would help them with work around their homes, such as cutting lawns and snow shoveling. I even walked their dogs when they were at work. As I grew older, I would wait for my dad to go up to bed, 9:30 or so, which meant he would be sleeping just before 10 p.m. My sister and brother were older and usually stayed out late. So, I would quietly get into the car and roll the car in neutral down the driveway. As soon as the wheels touched the street, I would fire up the straight six engine and head down the street for my joyride. At first, I stayed close to home, but little by little I became more confident and went further. I was quite the dare devil. With no cell phones at the time, just the in-dash A.M. radio found in most older cars. My dad never looked at the mileage on the car, but he often asked about the gas gauge being lower than he remembered. When it was time for me to take my driving test, he was golden with over five years driving experience behind the wheel. Of course, I passed with flying colors. Driving is one of the best privileges we have. The sense of freedom is unmistakably surreal. We must teach our children and all new drivers to follow all the rules of the road, and always take the side of caution and be a defensive driver. Go slow, and never touch that cell phone while driving the car. It is so dangerous and truly the biggest cause of accidents today. Please be safe on the roads and enjoy your new privilege.
David Siclari spent 25 years in the Roseland school district and I enjoyed every challenging day there, working closely with all of the staff to ensure that every child had a safe place to learn. During all of my years at the school we accomplished that goal. I was blessed to stay in one place for such a long period of time. I decided to take an early retirement 2016 to continue my journey in life.
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