Driving With Hand Controls and Maneuvering Confidently

Back when I was in high school, I remember taking a drivers ed class.  I was thrilled and nervous because I was going to be able to drive a car just like my mother, and sister, despite my Cerebral Palsy.  What a sense of pleasure and excitement it gave me.  Taking this huge, step forward in my life, also took my emotions on a roller coaster ride.  My stomach fluttered like the wings of a butterfly, .  I subconsciously knew this was an enormous, gigantic, and monumental responsibility and a big step for me; especially knowing that I had lost my lower left quadrant of peripheral vision due to my brain damage as a baby.

Although, I also knew getting my license would give me more freedom to get around the city, and to become more independent to do more of the things I’d desired to do.  It would allow me to go shopping to buy pretty new clothes, or get my nails done:>))))) , or, even taken care of errands.   It would be a high-schoolers dream come true!  It would also allow me to soar like an eagle in the sky.

In the beginning, I was taught to drive in a simulated car.  This was inside a  bungalow where a big screen was set up.    It was equipped  with hand controls and ready for all students, such as myself, to take a seat and start driving.  It was pretty cool.  Its almost like the arcade driving games they have today. Anyway’s the instructors were  ready for their willing participants to get behind the wheel-so they could teach them all they new about handling a car with care.  Thus, the disabled students of  Joseph Pomery Widney High school were immediately available to learn.

The first time I took the wheel of the car, it was amazing!  I did it with little dough in my  heart.  I even remember the kind of car it was.  It was a white, all electric power Plymouth.  It had power windows, power breaks and just too cool for words.  And I, Karen, Lynn Hershkowitz, got behind the wheels.  I was not intimidated at all.  With confidence, I adjusted the seat to my legs and comfort, adjusted my rear view mirrors and off the campus grounds I drove.  The instructor told me where to go and I went.

I used my steering knob with ease.  It became an extension of how freely I could control my steering wheel with one hand.  It enabled me to drive down a straight streets and maneuver corners with ease-  Although, I was one of the  privileged few to be able to use one; as they became illegal to drivers back in the fifties.  Teens back then called then knicker knobs.  And they were not made as mine was.  They were flimsily, and if someone got their wrist caught inside the mental part of the attachment, it could injured them badly.  So only those who were legally told they could use them for assistance did.

One day I was taking a driving lesson, I was driving down Grand Avenue, going towards Angels Hill, when a buss pulled out in front of me forcing me to pull to the left and think quickly.  I performed with confidence.  And, I was quick, too!  I had my foot on that break before the instructor could say a peep!  I maneuvered that huge car like I had been driving for years.  I proved to the teacher I had quick thinking.  I also proved to the instructor that I could  carefully move the car to the left with safety.

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