By Bob Kaster
I was a lucky kid. I’m still lucky, but not a kid anymore. I’m a septuagenarian, which means I’m in my seventies. I want to write and give to my granddaughter Cianna some stories of how I have been lucky. I already wrote one for her, about a dog named Jane. I hope she liked it and still has it.
This one I shall call story number two (the first one being the one about Jane). The title is below.
“Fifteen and a Wyoming DL”
I have been lucky for a lot of reasons. A lucky choice of whom to marry is just one. But the present story relates to my mom and dad, both of whom died a few years ago. I was lucky that they were my parents. I didn’t choose them. I had no choice in the matter. They didn’t choose me either, well not exactly, but they did create me. And they nurtured me when I was a kid, and pointed me in the right direction. And they trusted me and gave me freedom.
This story isn’t directly about my mom and dad, but they are always in the background and important.
When I was a kid one of the things I really wanted to do was to drive a car. I loved cars. When I was ten or eleven, my dad thought I should learn how to drive a car, just in case there was an emergency. He took me to the fairground parking lot, and taught me how to drive. It was in a 1950 Chevrolet sedan with a stick shift and clutch pedal.
When I was thirteen, the first Ford Thunderbirds came out. I thought they were beautiful. The first Thunderbirds were convertible sports cars. They had removable hard-top roofs that could be lifted off and stored in the trunk. The Ford dealership in our town had one in their show room. I went there and sat in it pretending to drive, as long as I could until the salesman told me I had to leave. I thought he was rude. But he probably thought I didn’t have enough money to buy it, and wasn’t old enough to drive it anyway. I guess he was right, but he was still rude.
When I was in the eighth grade my family moved to Denver, Colorado. I was the youngest kid in my class. In Colorado you had to be sixteen to get a driver’s license. I thought it was going to be awful! By the time I got my license all my friends would already have gotten their licenses and maybe even gone off to college.
But then a miracle happened! My parents decided that we were going to move to Cheyenne, Wyoming. We moved when I was fourteen, just about to have my fifteenth birthday.
At that time the Wyoming law allowed you to get your driver’s license when you were fifteen!! On my fifteenth birthday I was at the Cheyenne Department of Motor Vehicles to take my driver’s test. I passed and got my Wyoming driver’s license.
Wow! I got my license before my Colorado friends.
I still have the license because it was so important to me. It has a picture of a cowboy on a bucking bronco. Every year Cheyenne has the most famous rodeo in the United States. That is the reason for the picture of the cowboy on the driver’s licenses. The picture is also on Wyoming car license plates.
Here is where my mom and dad come into the picture for this story. I was fifteen years old and they actually allowed me to drive by myself from Cheyenne to Denver to visit my friends and stay a couple of nights. Cheyenne to Denver is more than a hundred miles, one way. They trusted me! And I didn’t let them down. I’m sure they worried about me, but if they did, they never let me know.