In 1952 at age eight the car guy bug bit me. After weeks of pestering, Dad finally let me drive his 1948 Pontiac 4-door sedan with “standard" shift. We stopped at the 300 acre parking lot at Santa Anita race track and he asked if I really knew how to drive. I assured him that I had observed for years and was sure I knew how. He went to the passenger side. I slid behind the wheel with a wedge-shaped cushion to help me reach the pedals. He offered no instruction.
With a nudge of the floor-mounted starter, the big flathead straight eight started immediately. I pushed in the clutch pedal, eased the column mounted shift lever into low gear, let out the clutch and we leaped two-feet, ending with a rough stop and dead engine. There was no comment from Dad, so I restarted the engine and tried again with the same result. It seemed there was a secret to clutch operation not easily learned by watching. After several rough starts I learned to apply throttle and get moving with smaller jerks. He never said a word.
This experience led me to spend 15 minutes with each kid, grandkid and great-grandkid showing them how to use a clutch so they won’t have the same problem.