As a distraction to the stress and worry caused by COVID-19
developments and current upheaval to life as know it, I invite our readers to enjoy our April issue. It seems fitting in an uncomfortably coincidental way that we themed this month’s magazine around Science & Technology.
Ironically, technology is the reason why many are able to work from home or homeschool their children during these times, and scientists and doctors around the world are working 24/7 to learn as much as possible on how to thwart COVID-19 and treat it. Science and technology is why the entire team behind Winston-Salem Monthly magazine was afforded the opportunity to send our final pages to Vermont for printing, and we largely did it working from home and communicating via group chat.
One of our stories in this month’s issue (and beautifully portrayed on our cover) is about Darren Overcash’s 1926 Model T, affectionately known as Abe, which still patrols the streets of Winston-Salem today.
That story is on page 40, and reminds me of the first time I learned how to drive a stick shift. It involves the number 16, and no, it doesn’t represent my age at the time. Rather, it’s the number of times I stalled a 1997 VW Jetta while traveling from New Hampshire to Rhode Island at the age of 21.
Car trouble was something that always seemed to set me back. (Could be that I just don’t care enough to pay attention to preventative maintenance or, maybe it’s bad luck.) Prior to the Jetta, my first vehicle was a 1991 GMC Blazer in all its teal glory that should never have been street legal. The steering wheel was metal and the seatbelts were always too slack but having a vehicle as a 16-year-old was not an opportunity I thought I’d be afforded.
So I drove that thing with pride and loved it — and still might puff my chest up a little bit today when I think about it. While it did make for a lot of good times, it was a huge stressor since I was constantly dealing with gas and coolant leaks, alternator problems, flat tires; you name it. I’ve sat on roadsides more times than I care to count, although I can proudly change a tire on my own. While I was a freshman in college, my younger sister drove the blazer … and somehow, it never ran again, leaving both of us without transportation.
Hence the Jetta.
I gifted another junker of a car for that Jetta after “Misty” left me stranded at a stoplight. Was the Mystique an equal trade for the Jetta? I honestly have no idea. But I do know that I got a crash-course in driving stick; a total of two hours before I had to set out for my grocery store shift later that day in a completely different state.
Driving on the interstate went well, but once I got into stoplight territory in East Providence, it was all over. I arrived at Shaw’s on time but I was severely disheveled; my Irish splotches dotting my cheeks, neck, and shoulders. I knew one thing: I did not want to drive anywhere again in that vehicle.
It didn’t take but a few days of consistent driving for me to get the hang of it, but I always struggled with the clutch. They say you should go easy on it, or something.
Let’s be honest, the worst part about stalling a vehicle isn’t the fact that you made a mistake. It’s simply mortifying! So what’s your most embarassing story from when you were new behind the wheel? I’d love to hear it.
Katlyn Proctor, Editor