The Best Conversations Are In Cars

Since sharing in my last post about all the different writing voices screaming in my head, I’ve managed to quieten down a few of them, although not enough to feel too smug.  Not smug at all in fact.  Still, my head is above water again, which is a good thing.

While bleeding writing another chapter for my book this week,  memories came flooding back to remind me of how devastated I was when, at seventeen, I failed my driving test at my first try.  I wasn’t ready, I had rushed into it and I was utterly intimidated by the driving instructor.  I wasn’t to know that my life would change for the better only a few months later (for a time) but at that point I couldn’t see anything through my tears.

Having a car of my own meant freedom, plain and simple, and that was never more clear than when we moved to California in 1986 because there you don’t walk, you drive.

We started off with a Buick LeSabre with broken shock-absorbers and things went downhill from then on.

1988. Eldest son standing next to one of our better cars, a Honda Prelude.  I loved it but when Nicky arrived, it was very difficult getting a baby-seat in the back with only two doors.  (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

1988. Eldest son standing next to one of our better cars, a Honda Prelude. I loved it but when Nicky arrived, it was very difficult getting a baby-carrier in the back with only two doors.
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Over the years we had many clunkers and most of ex-husband’s (EH) days off were spent on his back fixing leaking radiators and who knows what else.

The crowning glory came when we acquired a dark blue Chevy Camaro from EH’s brother.  Oh yes, I loved that car.

I loved the sound it made when I gunned it across town, the throaty roar of its powerful V8 engine rumbling through the exhaust-pipe, waking everyone up.

Driving it made me feel rebellious, bad, crazy even.  The fact that I only used it for the school-run to pick up my children is beside the point, although it was great fun driving it past the high school.

But there was a problem, wouldn’t you know it.  Every time I turned the corner it leaked power-steering fluid and the steering wheel juddered so badly that I could hardly hold on to it.  Then, one afternoon in well over 100 degrees heat, with the kids crammed in the back and stuck in the middle of heavy traffic on a bridge, that lovely Camaro died on me.

This was the last straw, I’d had enough and I let EH know all about it.  And so we got our first decent vehicle, my ‘Mommy-Mobile’, and I was never happier but EH hated it.  It was a Ford Windstar minivan (‘people-mover’ as we call it in the UK) and EH said it was like driving a truck on a car chassis.  But it had more than two doors, sliding doors even, and I was ecstatic.

So there I was, very much the ‘school-run’ mom. I always wanted to be available to be there at the end of the school day to pick up my children because I had learned that it was during our drives home, no matter how short, that we had our best conversations. I didn’t have to prompt or do the usual, “So honey, what did you do today?” only to be greeted by, “Nothing”, if I was lucky, a grunt if not.

Concentrating on driving, yet not too preoccupied, I was all-ears and able to listen to what my children were really saying, or, more importantly, to what they chose not to say.  The simple sharing of everyday life which is so important for building relationships with them.  We had each other all to ourselves before the distractions back home dispersed us in different directions and those precious moments would be lost, until the next day.

I looked forward to seeing my children at the end of the school day even though, like so many young families, we always seemed to be rushing here and there but, for the most part, our conversations were full of silliness and laughter.  Making funny faces in the rear-view mirror?  Of course! Rude noises?  You bet! There was one conversation which I came to dread though and it was always on a Friday.

My youngest son, Nicky, while in second grade and so about seven years old, had a teacher who used to hand out candies (sweets) to the ‘good’ kids on Friday afternoons just before the end of the day.  If you got one you became known as the ‘Candy Kid’.  No big shakes.  Except Nicky  happened to mention one Friday that his friend was Candy Kid for the third time running and he was starting to get a bit upset that he hadn’t had a turn yet.

I said all the usual comforting things that mothers say at such times: “Don’t worry sweetie, it’ll be your turn next week, I’m sure!” But on and on it went until every Friday I would sit there, in the car park, waiting for him with such anxiety that I felt physically sick. “Oh dear God, please let my son be Candy Kid, just for one day!”

Happy 'Candy Kid' Nicky! (c) Sherri Matthews 2014

Happy ‘Candy Kid’ Nicky!
(c) Sherri Matthews 2014

You mums/moms will understand this.  It’s serious stuff and this was getting beyond a joke.  I couldn’t bear to see my son looking so crestfallen week after week.

So I took action.  One Friday I met Nicky’s teacher after school and we had a little chat.  It turned out that it was nothing more than an oversight on her part, as in, “Oh, hasn’t Nick been Candy Kid yet?”  I was not amused.

I told her in no uncertain terms, that she had to make him Candy Kid. Not for my son, oh no, it had gone way beyond that.  No,  for MY mental health because I simply couldn’t take it any longer.

The following week Nicky came out of school with a beaming smile.  “Guess what Mommy, I got to be Candy Kid!”  Well Praise Jesus! We had the happiest of conversations driving home that afternoon.  And the icing on the cake?  My car didn’t break down once.

“Money may not buy happiness, but I’d rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus.” Françoise Sagan

About Sherri

Sherri has worked in both the medical and legal fields in the UK and California, where she lived for 17 years raising her three children. Chasing her writing dream throughout, she began her writing career in earnest from home while caring for her Aspie daughter. Since then, Sherri has been published in a variety of magazines, anthologies and company websites. Today, she lives with her husband, daughter and two cats in the West Country of England where she keeps out of trouble writing her memoir, blogging, walking and taking endless photographs. Her garden robin muse visits regularly.
This entry was posted in Childhood Memories, Family Life, Memoir, My California and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

101 Responses to The Best Conversations Are In Cars

  1. I love the quote at the end. LOL!

  2. suej says:

    Great story, and love the quote!!

  3. Pat says:

    Sherri – It’s been many years, now, but I can relate to the cars and our children. I remember one of my fellow bloggers, Lois, wrote a post last Sep on cars ( and we both reminisced on a car game called ‘slug-bug’ and all the cars we’d had over the years. I had always intended on writing a post including some of our old cars and your story reminded me of that. Hmmm, may just have to do that.

    A heartfelt pang for your son on what he must have been feeling waiting to be Candy Kid. While it was a nice gesture for the teacher to want to make her students feel special, it’s hard on the kid who has been overlooked. Now, it’s like they’ve taken it so far the other way, in schools, not wanting to hurt kids feelings that in competition no one wins, instead everyone gets participant ribbons. Makes me wonder if we’ll ever figure it out and get it right. :-)

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, me too Pat, I’ve been wanted to write a post about all my car adventures for some time but this one barely scratches the surface! I didn’t even go into my cars in England, including my first rusty old heap of a Mini (which I loved!) Sounds as though you have had quite a few car adventures yourself, I look forward to reading about them. Thanks for the link to Lois’s post which I’ll check out but I’ve not heard of ‘slug-bug’!

      Yes, I do agree with you Pat about things going too far the other way now in schools. In Nicky’s case though there were other things about the teacher that troubled me and she seemed to be clueless about the way she treated some kids unfairly and at that young age it is hard for them to deal with. Still, we got there in the end and Nicky went on to have a super third grade teacher!

      Thanks for your great comment Pat, always love to hear from you and your take on different subjects. I hope you have a lovely weekend :-)

      • Pat says:

        Hi Sherri – I think a lot of us could write a story or two about the cars we’ve had. Hubby and I tried to think back and count how many. I think we came up with close to 20.

        Slug-bug is a car game back when there were a lot of Volkswagen beetles on the highway ( The first one who saw one would slug the person sitting next to them. It would get pretty harsh ending up with bruises on your arm. But, it was all in good fun.

        I don’t know how the teachers do it. It takes a special calling, I think, and there is so much responsibility in the influence of children’s lives. It’s part of growing up, I guess, and encountering all different types of people. We learn even when it’s not the best of circumstances.

        Hope you have a great weekend, too, my friend. I always enjoy exchanging tales with you. :-)

      • Sherri says:

        Ah yes, those Volkswagen Beetles, I remember them so well, still see a few on the road! My kids made up their own version of this game, anything that involved ‘slugging’ one another all in the name of fun, ha ha :-)

        Thanks again Pat, and you too my friend. Looking forward to sharing more stories soon. Have a great week :-)

      • Pat says:

        I think there were quite a few versions of that car game, some with trucks. Probably to get a chance to see one first and slug the other. LoL I wonder if kids play that today?

        Take care and will talk again soon. Happy Monday. :-)

      • Pat says:

        That goes for me, too :-) :-) LOL

  4. jennypellett says:

    Haha, lovely story. Did you really threaten that teacher? Can’t imagine you running a protection racket, but there we go – when it comes to our kids we’ll do anything!! (even now … :) )
    My first car was called Basil. A crappy Ford Escort with so much rust in the floor pans I felt like Fred Flintstone. He was called Basil because I would screech at him, just like Sibyl Fawlty, when he wouldn’t start in the morning. A lot of cash and a failed MOT later and Basil went to where he should have been years before – the crusher’s yard.
    We live and learn.

    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha! Well, it wasn’t so much threaten Jenny as ‘convince’ ;-) Seriously though, it was getting ridiculous. This ‘Candy Kid’ thing was taking over our lives!! Mind you, it did help having Ray Winstone as back up, ha!
      Basil – love it! HaHa! Did you beat him with a branch too? That Basil Fawlty moment is pure television classic isn’t it? Your Basil sounds like he would have been friends with my first car, a rust-heap of an old black Mini called Tevvie (so called by the letters TEV on the number plate and named by my friend’s dad – don’t ask!!). The rust was so bad that every time it rained (which seemed to be most of the time) my feet got wet, so I know just what you mean!!! We do indeed live and learn!
      Thanks for making me laugh Sybil – sorry, Jenny – and hope you are enjoying a lovely, sunny weekend :-)

  5. Imelda says:

    ah, nice remembrances. :-) Of course, I love the last line.
    We did not install any entertainment system in the car so the children regale us and keep us awake with their endless chatter (oh, we had to implement a token system so that they do not speak all at the same time). But because we (meaning my husband) are not distracted by anything, we could listen more. We are captive audience during the trips and I suppose, the children love it.

    • Sherri says:

      Ah yes, that captive audience! That is the key isn’t it? I like the idea of your token system! Sounds like you and your family have some wonderful exchanges of conversation in your car Imelda :-)

  6. Julia Lund says:

    I have never owned a ‘decent’ car, but old though they all may have been, they have all been utterly reliable and have never let me down. My current charabanc has just celebrated 20 years on the road; I inherited it from my mum after she died a few years ago. I say inherited. During the last weeks of her life, mum tried to give her car to one of her children – none of my siblings acquiesced! That was left to me. It creaks and groans and has a body that has seen better days (a bit like me) but when I’m in the driving seat, I smile to remember all the memories it brings back of times spent with my lovely mum.

    • Sherri says:

      Oh what a lovely story about your mum’s car Julia, thanks so much for sharing it! I’m sure though you haven’t seen better days ;-) I think it’s great that your car is still going strong but how marvellous to have such lovely memories when driving along of your time spent with your dear mum. You were obviously meant to have your mum’s car and I can understand just how precious your ‘old faithful’ is to you :-)

  7. Oh Sherri, this post brought the biggest smile to my face. I can picture you confronting Nicky’s teacher to make him a “Candy Kid.” What a great memory!
    Guess what? I learned to drive in a Buick La Sabre, but the shock absorbers were fine. :)
    Yay for you, another chapter written! Keep in mind, I’d love to be a beta reader for your memoir.
    Happy Weekend! Relax and enjoy! xo

    • Sherri says:

      HaHa! Yes, I couldn’t take it anymore and had to get things sorted out there and then! Glad it made you smile :-)
      That’s amazing that you learned to drive in a Buick Le Sabre Jill, and I’m glad that your shock absorbers were in good shape! The Buick was the first car we had when we first moved to CA and was inherited from EH’s parents but it needed a lot of work. Still, we had it for a few years and I loved all the room in it. Great for when family came to visit as we could all fit inside no trouble!
      My first car was actually a Mini. As I was saying to Jenny, it was so rusty that whenever it rained (a lot!) my feet got wet, but I loved that car because I paid for it and it was my passport to freedom! Think another car post might be brewing eh?!
      Oh Jill, you being a beta reader for my memoir means the world, and I will definitely be taking you up on your very kind offer! I will keep writing (did a few thousand words this week), I promise!
      Thanks, and you too, I’m off to the seaside now as it’s warm and sunny here, as I hope it is with you. Have a great weekend, you and DfD :-) xo

  8. Your car / journey memories are always entertaining Sherri and this is no exception! I didn’t learn to drive until I was in my thirties – my parents never had a car and couldn’t drive, so I was used to using public transport. I drove around for a while but never braved the motorway and sad to say, it’s now been a few years since I’ve driven at all. So although we have a car, that my partner drives, I’ve never had the pleasure of owning my ‘first car’! Maybe one day I’ll get back to it…Glad you gave that teacher the what for, how dare she forget!

    • Sherri says:

      HaHa! Yes, I remember you saying before about me and my adventures in cars! And it’s true! There a few more stories I could tell – perhaps I should write a book, ha ;-)
      Still, I’m glad that you enjoy reading about them :-)
      None of my children drive either Andrea. The boys don’t need a car where they live for a number of reasons – public transport is excellent and they both walk everywhere and parking is very hard to come by – and my daughter lives at home with us so doesn’t need to but for me it was my only mode of transport as we lived in rural Suffolk countryside.
      My first car was a Mini and I loved it and have been driving since I was 18.
      Interesting what you say about not driving on a motorway. My one-time mother-in-law (Crazy Grandma!) stopped driving the freeways in LA after her husband died and took to flying when she came to see us. It was one hour from LA to the town where we lived so much quicker and pretty cheap too, at least back then.
      Needs must but in the end, we all end up doing what works the best. I’m so used to having a car I would hate not to have one now and for you Andrea, you just never know, it’s never too late…. :-)
      Thank you, yes, I was not at all happy with that particular teacher for other reasons too, but it all worked out in the end.
      I hope you are enjoying a lovely, sunny weekend :-)

  9. rgemom says:

    So many memories brought to mind from your post. And I totally would have confronted that teacher too. Good on ya.

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much, really glad to know that you enjoyed this post! Sometimes us mums need to step in and take matters into our own hands, in the right way of course :-)

  10. I would have done the same thing Sherri! My heart just broke a little reading it. Every kid needs to experience being a candy kid! I could go on and on and on about this topic. One of my peeves. I hate it when teacher play favorites . Hmmp.

    And I love the quote! :)

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh, thanks Jhanis. I know, it was so sad, I felt really bad for Nicky. The teacher wasn’t being fair at all and it was starting to have a bad affect on the whole class as she clearly had favourites and the kids were so young! Not good!! Yes, me too, a definite peeve…
      Glad you enjoyed and hope you are having a great weekend with your lovely family :-)

  11. Heyjude says:

    Yet another lovely family tale Sherri. I feel that I am getting to know your brood well. I never had a car when my kids were young – a long story – but I did eventually get around to passing my test in my 40s and it has been one of the best things I ever did! Oh, the freedom it brings. And like others have commented – great quote :cool:
    Jude xx

    • Sherri says:

      Glad you enjoyed it Jude, thank you :-) Wow, well, I’m so glad that you now have the freedom you so enjoy! I’ve been driving since I was 18 and can’t imagine not having a car, no matter which country I’m living in ;-) None of my kids drive, the boys don’t need to in Brighton (parking, barely any, and public transportation great and they walk everywhere and get the train home) but the time will come when they will have to and so I take hope from your story!
      Hope you are having a lovely, sunny weekend, I’m off to the seaside, talking of Brighton… :-) xx

  12. Rachel says:

    Lovely story, Sherri. Walking home from school with the kids is just as good for conversation in my view. Perhaps more so because I usually play music in the car which is probably distracting as I like to sing along :-)

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Rachel, I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. Yes, I agree and we had our fair share of great conversations when walking too but where we lived in California we had no choice but to use a car with everything being too far away. Nothing like that music in cars too for a great sing-a-long :-) Happy weekend :-)

  13. Y. Prior says:

    awesome post Sherri – and we have had our car convos too – :) but I also really like your little story about the candy kid – because it just shows how we need to advocate for our kid s- int he smallest of ways at times – but that small little story speaks volumes about being in tune and actively finding ways to advocate for the very important needs of a child.
    also, as an educator for many years = I found that the moms that were checking in and the ones that were “more aware” = well it had many positive outcomes for their kids- I have seen it go too far – but that is a whole different topic – ;)

    I also like your fun description of the car experience (great writing!!!) – and it is interesting that you had that quote about the Jag (never heard it) but I could write a whole book about the trials I had with my Jag – which I drove fro 9 1/2 years – the engine was super great but – had electronic problems from day one – and also misc. hell stuff = anyhow, great post mon amie!

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Y, so glad you enjoyed it and it’s great to read your perspective as an educator. Yes, I agree, there is no doubt that some parents can go too far the other way. I’m sure you’ve had plenty of experience with that.

      I always wanted to have a good rapport and relationship with my children’s teachers and support them in their vital role as I respect them (you) greatly in what can’t be an easy job but this particular teacher just didn’t seem to realise how much she was upsetting not just my son but other kids in the class too by being thoughtless in how she handed out the candies. At the age they were, second graders, that was a huge deal to be made Candy Kid. She was unaware that she was making the same group of kids Candy Kid every week and that was wrong in my view. I just couldn’t take it any more, my son was crestfallen. Thankfully he went on to have a brilliantly wonderful third grade teacher :-)

      Ah, so you had a Jag did you? How wonderful! Amazing the stories we could write about our cars and our relationships with them!! My dad had a red Jag with red leather seats. I loved it. It was great until he smashed it (drunk-driving) but, as with you, mon amie (love it!) that’s a whole other story! ;-)

  14. Mabel Kwong says:

    Another well written piece from you, Sherri. I’m not much of a driver. I got my license but hardly drive because I tend to get mild dizzy, motion sickness, in cars in Australia (I’m okay on trams and trains). Making funny faces in the rearview mirror – who doesn’t like to do that? I think the person in the driver’s seat never fails to be entertained by this. I do it all the time :)

    I think it’s natural to have conversations in cars. There’s nothing much to do apart from that and looking down at our phones.

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Mable, so glad you enjoyed it! Sorry about getting motion sickness. My daughter is the same.
      Ha Ha! Gotta make those funny faces, absolutely :-) Ah, interesting you mention about looking down at our phones. Going back to when I was a ‘school-run’ mom, my children didn’t have mobile phones – my eldest son didn’t get one until he was 18 believe it or not (he’s 31 so having a mobile phone was still relatively ‘new’ back then!). Things have changed very fast. It was nice not to have that distraction. Although we did like to listen to music too and we sang a lot of very silly songs :-)

      • Mabel Kwong says:

        Oh yes, listening to music and singing along to the songs. I still remember that. When I was in primary school in Malaysia, every morning my mum would put on Disney songs on the car radio as she drove me to school. And yes, I would sing very loudly…because who doesn’t like Disney songs? :D

      • Sherri says:

        Ahh, such shared, happy memories Mabel! I had a Disney tape too and we used to sing along all the time :-)

  15. TBM says:

    I was born in California and I often wonder if the governor found out I don’t own a car and haven’t for 10 years if he would rescind my claim to say I’m Californian. We saw a neighbor yesterday get in her car and drive across the street and I said, “Must be a Californian.”

    Thanks for sharing the story. So glad it worked out.

    • Sherri says:

      Ha Ha! Good point TB, you better not mention it, that would be an outrage!! You made me laugh out loud with this because when my mum would come and visit she would never fail to be amazed at the way people would hop into their cars to drive such short distances. We made up a saying and say it to this day: “Why walk when you can drive?”

      Thanks TB, glad you enjoyed it and yes, it all worked out in the end! Have a lovely weekend…a lovely sunny one out in the pub garden hopefully, cheers :-)

  16. mudpilewood says:

    Great post, we’ve had many a squeaky, leaky car. My two are now grown and have moved out, but I still miss all the loud badly sung songs that we sang.

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much for stopping by and for reading, so glad you enjoyed it! You can obviously relate in more ways than one – and yes, nothing like those shared, badly sung songs. Great memories of when our kids were young eh? Take care :-)

  17. Ha, that quote! When I was in America, the only two cars I went in was a jeep thing (so common in America!) and a GT Mustang!! Which, for the latter, I love how I can say I have been in one. Fantastic. The roar of that V8 engine! Blimey.

    I’m actually incredibly quiet in the car, so, for me, the best conversations are not in a car haha.

    • Sherri says:

      Ahha, well, we had a Cobra Mustang too Jenny Jen Jen! I seriously could write a book about all the cars we’ve loved and lost! Glad you got to have that incomparable ‘V8’ experience – nothing like it!
      I now have this image of you sitting so quietly in your car, peaceful and serene. I hope! A lovely image :-)

      • Ha, gosh. A lot of cars, then? ;)

        I was sinking back into the car seat! It was quite something, that V8. I’m not really one for speed, either, so I did slightly fear for my life. But, at least it was an American road, and thus long, wide and straight! Not quite so scary as, say, an English country lane!! There are little lanes all over the place where I live.

        Haha, that is a strange image to find lovely, Sherri :P

      • Sherri says:

        Yes, a lot!!

        Woo hoo, sounds like quite a ride! I know just what you mean. When we went back last year (daughter and I) I was crammed into the back of EH’s Mustang and he drives very fast, weaving in and out of traffic on those LA freeways like they all do over there. I was praying the whole time! It didn’t help that heavy metal music was pumping out from the speakers too! Daughter loved it, lol :-)

        Bit different to the image I have of you , so serene and peacefully driving through English country lanes… :-)

      • Haha, wow, sounds wild! You’re not keen on speed either, I take it?

        You’re making me sound like an old granny or something! Though, to be honest, I act like one a lot of the time so I guess you’re not far wrong :P

      • Sherri says:

        Actually I do like speed, but not when I’m crammed in the back of a sport’s car with my maniacal ex-husband driving, lol :-)

        Oh I know you’re not an old granny, far from it! I know you loved that old V8, just as much as I did ;-)

      • Haha, fair enough Sherri!

        Well, I didn’t NOT like it, but I certainly do dislike speed. Not my thing. I’m a sloooooww snail ;)

    • Steven says:

      You surely weren’t the sloooowww snail type when you went on that roller coaster and had the best photograph ever taken. Or on second thoughts, maybe that’s why you look the way you do on it. How fast was that going? :P

      Oh I am most sorry to butt in ;)

      • Hahaha, well no, that was during my wild young days, but in my now OLD AGE, I am a slooooowww snail ;)

        Ugh, just thinking about my face in that photo and I’m sat here cackling away to myself. It’s so funny, it should be illegal.

        Did I not tell you the story of why my face is actually like that on the ride?? The most hilarious thing about it is that ride wasn’t even a roller coaster…

      • Steven says:

        Haha, well shortly after writing this comment, I went and looked up Extremis. It seems it’s some kind of drop from darkness in a dungeon, rather than a roller coaster. So, I can see why it was slightly scary.

        How high is the drop? The video I saw on YouTube was basically darkness… I couldn’t see much.

      • Steven, WordPress is distracting me from household duties, and I blame you.

        Hahahaha, it is indeed a drop ride! Oh, jeez. Let me explain.

        I dragged my mother on there, yeeeaaars ago now, and she was really nervous about it. But I was in my wild years then, and I loved rides. When I saw the height of it, I was truly disappointed. It was, what? The height of a two story house? I was like, “Uuuuhhh how boring, this is going to be rubbish”. So, I went on with that expectation. When we sat down, the man was like “You MUST take off lose-fitting shoes, and any necklaces.” I was thinking, ‘For goodness sake. How dramatic. This is ridiculous for such a small ride.’ We got on, went up, and there was this little scene thing pretending that we were being hanged like on a noose – the whole time I was watching it, all blasé, still thinking it was rubbish. Well, it serves me right really.

        I HAVE NEVER BEEN ON SUCH A HORRIFIC RIDE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. I cannot CANNOT tell you how unexpected it was. It genuinely felt like you were plummeting to your death. So, because I was so taken aback and shocked and what have you, my gorgeous face was the outcome.

      • Steven says:

        Well… I REALLY want to go on this ride now, I’m just saying. Sherri, want to come on with us?

        Your mum doesn’t look that frightened. She’s obviously well ‘ard.

      • Hahaha, oh, I was a right laugh in the London Dungeons. I was picked on by literally every worker there. I was called a “curly wench” by one of them. Charming. They obviously got lessons off you. We should so go, though I feel Sherri may scold us on numerous occasions.

        My mum in as ‘aaaarrd as they get, clearly.

      • Steven says:

        Curly wench is a bit steep… maybe it was an ex of yours…? ;)

        Hahaha, that would be SO funny, seriously, it would make my decade. Maybe Sherri could put us on reigns? She thought bringing up her kids was trying enough, well, she ain’t seen nothing yet ;)

      • Hahah, I upset my exes that much, do I?

        I think she’d have to with us. We’d be maniacs ;) Oh, that would priceless us going there. Think of the endless blog posts that could come of it.

      • Sherri says:

        Ok, I have kept away from this conversation so far which I see is still carrying on. Time to poke my brolly in, so to speak. All I’ll say is are you referring to the drop ride at The London Dungeon Jenny Jen Jen? Because if so, guess what? I have a photo of me on that thing with my kids :-) And I look terrified!!

      • Haha, that’s exactly what we’re talking about!! Brilliant. Sherri, you need to see my picture. It is truly, truly hilarious. Steven can vouch for that.

      • Sherri says:

        I do need to see it! I can’t remember where mine is, at home somewhere (still house-sitting) will have to try and find it, along with the hundreds of other things I’m supposed to be looking for…as Steven well knows…and I haven’t forgotten… ;-)

      • Sherri says:

        Get ready…. ;-)

      • Steven says:

        Well, it seems I’m in the minority for having never been on this ‘scary’ ride… I’m sure I wouldn’t be scared. Not at all :P

      • Sherri says:

        I was so scared in that place I had my eyes closed the entire time. All the zombies or whatever they were chased my daughter and she thought it was hilarious! Guess who is the braver of the two – and it ain’t me, lol ;-) Wonder if we were there at the same time Jenny Jen Jen .. !

      • Ha, I was exactly the same, Sherri!! Oooo, I can’t remember when I went. Years ago now. Late 2000s, probably. When were you there??

      • Sherri says:

        It was a couple of years ago so not the same time then :-( Oh well. As Steven says, we should all go and then we can get a really good photo of us all looking absolutely terrified at the same time! :-)

  18. mumblypeg says:

    Love the post Sherri. As usual written with humour and full of life. Good for you fighting your boy’s corner with the teacher.
    I remember one old banger, a Triumph 2000. It was racing green. with red leather seats and walnut fascia. Sadly the lower body work let it down and despite my best efforts to patch it up, it failed the MOT. I got £25.00 for it because the steering wheel had a special emblem on in it! I loved that old car. Glad to hear you are progressing with the novel. Keep going girl! Love + SB’s xxx

    • Sherri says:

      You probably remember the sorry saga of the Candy Kid!! It went on for ages :-(
      Oh yes, the green Triumph 2000, remember it very well. That special emblem on the steering wheel would probably be worth a fortune now, they are collectible I’m sure.
      Thanks so much, glad you enjoyed reading yet more of our crazy car adventures (as you know, there are many more where this came from) and yes, I’m pressing on with the writing. See you & SB’s back … :-) xxxxxx

  19. Glynis Jolly says:

    I don’t know Sherri. From what you stated, I would question the teacher’s fairness or lack there of. There are a lot of teachers out there who play favorites. That said however, it could be a lesson in life.

    • Sherri says:

      She wasn’t very fair but I also think she was unaware of the way the kids were being affected by it. At that age, being Candy Kid was a big deal. You are right Glynis, life isn’t fair and children do need to learn that but in this situation I think the teacher handled it very badly. Still, thankfully we moved on from that :-)

  20. Love the Candy Kid story. Gave me a smile because it also brought memories of my son when he’s that age. They have a treasure chest in their classroom and when they get straight 7 good days, they get to pick his treasure. He looked so happy every time he gets one. And yes, it gives me relief too as a parent that he’s doing well and is happy in school. Of course, it’s also helps with my mental health just like you. When our kids happy and doing well in school, we are happy and relax as well. Great cat stories that warms the heart. All the best to you and your family.

    • Sherri says:

      I’m sure you can relate to the Candy Kid story very well IT! If our children are happy, then so are we, right? :-) Ahh, how lovely to see your little boy’s beaming, joyous face when he gets to pick his special treasure :-) So important.
      I’m glad this story made you smile as it had a good outcome and no further problems! Glad too you enjoyed the car stories, there are plenty more, maybe I should share those too! Wishing you and your family a joy-filled weekend :-)

  21. Letizia says:

    I love the story of you and your son in the car. You’re so right, the car can be a little moment in the day to sit and be together. My grandfather used to take me on country drives when I was little and we used to talk about everything and nothing. It’s one of my fondest memories of my time with him.

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Letizia, and what a lovely memory you have shared of your drives with your grandfather. Times like that are very precious indeed and never to be forgotten.

  22. Steven says:

    Haha, why is it children are so reluctant to talk about what they did at school on the way home? It’s always a taboo subject.

    Go Sherri, regarding the Candy Kid fiasco! We had a similar thing called Star of The Week, when I was at school. It was basically a name on the wall. I can remember some getting very disheartened upon finding it wasn’t them. Was Nicky a shy boy? I was very shy as a child (I still am in real life, trust me! I think you’d be surprised.) and often felt that it was the troublesome ones getting the attention, and in turn being bribed with the rewards, while those that always behaved were just left to get on with it – not ignored as such, but maybe slightly neglected… Maybe it was a similar thing, and she didn’t feel Nicky needed to be Candy Kid? Though clearly he did, and good on you for making her see that. Don’t mess with the Poppins ;) if I ever get into any kind of bother, I want you in my corner!

    As for driving tests, I passed second time, at age 19, which was a tremendous shock. I got a Ford Sierra soon after. First day with it, with my father: crashed it into next door’s shrubs… oopsy-daisy! ;) I have actually recently given up my car, after realising it rarely moves from the roadside anymore. I just walk everywhere, these days.

    I’ve driven a Bentley and a VW camper van. Are they cool?

    Love the finishing quote!

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks JG, I see what you’re saying but actually Nicky wasn’t shy at all, far from it! The teacher seemed to give out these candies randomly not realising that she was leaving some of the kids out every week :-(

      Yes, I was 18 when I passed the second time and I was elated! Oops, maybe your dad was so excited about you passing your test at last that he got carried away! Strange coincidence this because my dad crashed his Jag into the neighbour’s rose bushes once after driving home from the pub…but that’s another long story…

      Oh very cool, yes JG, indeed! My first car was a rust-heap of a Mini which I adored. I remember putting one pound’s worth of petrol in it, back in the day when the petrol pump accepted a one pound note. It lasted me ages! Now those were the days… :-)

      • Steven says:

        Aah, well then, yes, that does seem most unfair.

        Haha! It wasn’t dad behind the wheel, Sherri, it was me ;) Thankfully the neighbours saw the funny side, even if I could tell it was through slightly gritted teeth. I did fix it for them, yes :P

        I remember people being sooo excited about having a car. “Did you know I have a car?” at college, constantly… strange they shut up about it, when I started asking for lifts…!!

      • Sherri says:

        Ooops – I totally misread that didn’t I? Sorry about that! Must have been tired – excuses, excuses, I know…but I thought that maybe your dad wanted to test out your new car!! Oh well, I’m glad that your neighbours were ok about it…sort of ;-)

        HaHa! Yes, I know what you mean! I was the only one of my friends who had a car. Have many a memory of late night drives along those rural Suffolk country lanes with far too many people crammed in my little Mini. And that’s all I’m going to say about that… :-)

  23. thirdhandart says:

    What a great post Sherri… love the Françoise Sagan quote. I’ve never had to confront my daughters’ teachers. But, I have taken on groups of kids (bullies) who were tormenting my daughters in elementary school.
    I hope you had lots of fun at the seaside!

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Theresa, so glad that you enjoyed it. So sorry your daughters had to go through that but good for you taking on those bullies, nothing worse. Sometimes us mums/moms have to take matters into our own hands to get things sorted out!

  24. When a car starts playing up, I go right off it. I’m so happy that spoke to the teacher, so your son could be the candy kid. :) Great memories, Sherri. xx

  25. So much happen with and in cars. Another lovely post. Sagan of course knew what she was talking about.

  26. Sherri says:

    So much!! Thank you Evelyne, I’m so glad you enjoyed the read and yes, Sagan certainly did :-)

  27. Car conversations really do take on a life of their own, don’t they? I too think it is interesting that while at home, we may not get the chance to talk to each other the way we do when we are “trapped” with one another inside a vehicle.

    • Sherri says:

      Yes they really do! You hit the nail on the head BT, we are ‘trapped’ and so a very captive audience to each other’s conversations. It’s almost as if we feel safer talking about certain things in a car than in other surroundings. I wonder why that is? Thanks so much for reading :-)

  28. tiramarie says:

    It was so fun to read your post yesterday. I was just yesterday morning looking up Honda Preludes that could be for sale since I was missing my first car of my own. I loved driving that car! It would surely be nostalgic and wear off quickly. I’d love to just drive one in 5th gear one last time. My memory is probably better left in tact and unspoiled. Sometimes I have ruined the best memories by trying to recreate them.

    I am also a teacher and appreciate as a parent the trials of social challenges. The heartbreak of watching children learn tough lessons is not fun and even more difficult when as a parent or teacher we contribute the struggle. What a reward to celebrate the successes or even simply witnessing the end of a difficult time.

    Finally, thanks for such great hospitality on your blog. Your feedback is welcomed and I am grateful for you sharing your time, talent and thoughts. You present yourself genuinely and bring a homey feeling to this virtual world. The respect you share is lovely.

    It is great to connect and share our space here.

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Tira! What a small world! Those Honda Preludes are great cars, I really loved mine too. I know what you mean but maybe you will be able to find a good one, you never know !

      Yes, it is difficult isn’t it to get the balance right with teaching our children that sometimes life isn’t fair. In this case though I felt the teacher was just not thinking straight! You obviously understand situations like this from both perspectives.

      I’m so humbled by your very kind and thoughtful words, thank you so much. It means a lot to me to know that you come here to visit and spend time reading and then reply in such a meaningful way. I really appreciate it very much and yes, it really is wonderful to be able to connect here. Bless you Tira :-)

  29. Oh, Sherri, you Tiger Mom!
    Sometimes we have to stand up for our children, and you did…and boy, anyone reading this will know to watch out. ;) And now your son will know, too!

    My senior year in high school was my brother’s first year in college. With him gone, my transportation to and from school was also gone. My dad gave me a darling ’58 Thunderbird to drive that year, yellow with a white top and leather bucket seats. It was a used car, almost a classic by then, and my friends loved to help me wash it and beg rides to school events. Six weeks before I left for college, “Old Yeller” was sold. My first paid article was “Memories of Old Yeller” and my writing career began. I even earned reprint payment!
    It pays to have a father in the car industry, you know. Bless his heart, Dad knew I fell in love with that car while it was on his used car lot, and he trusted me to take care of it. I did, and it began a love affair with automobiles.

    • Sherri says:

      Grrrrrrrr :-) Tiger Mom/Mamma Bear!! Ha Ha! Although I hope everyone doesn’t think I’m one of these pushy mums now! This was the only time I had to do this but it really got out of hand! I felt anxious just writing about it! But yes, you are right, sometimes we do need to take a stand and this was one of those such times :-)

      Oh Marylin, what a delightful story, thanks so much for sharing it with me. What a fab car your dad gave you, wow, a ’58 Thunderbird! I would have LOVED a car like that! I would love to read your article about ‘Old Yeller’. How wonderful is it that you wrote your first article about your beloved car? There is so much here – your dad’s understanding and trust of you, his daughter, with such a special car, your appreciation and gratefulness for it and then your writing about it! I’m beaming from ear to ear just thinking about it and the warmth and love that positively exudes from your lovely, heartwarming story. But then this is your family, which I’m coming to know through your writing so I’m not at all surprised :-)

  30. This reminds me so much of when I was a little kid and used to ride in the back of the minivan with my mom after school. I miss those days. :)

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Ben! Aww, You know, I miss those days too, very much! I’m glad I could give you some good memories though :-)
      Thanks so much for stopping by.

  31. mvschulze says:

    Hi Sherri. I’ve been backtracking to catch up on some of my favorite bloggers… yours always included. But 82 comments Sherri? Wow! It’s getting crowded in this room! Well written, nice relatable story about conversations and concerns about our kids. What caught my attention also was the red Honda Prelude, as for a short time I had one pretty much exactly like it. Nice amenities, I thought. Lots of cup holders, controls right at my finger tips, electric sun-roof. Fun.

    • Sherri says:

      HaHa! Well, always room for one more Marty and always a pleasure to see you here, thanks so much for dropping by! I should have known that you would have been interested in the car pic but really glad you enjoyed the stories too. I loved my Honda Prelude and you’ve brought it all back to me. As you say, very nice amenities, I particularly loved the electric sun-roof too. It really was a fun car to drive but it was impractical with a young son and a baby. I twisted my back more than once trying to get the baby-carrier in and out so it had to go, more’s the pity ;-(

  32. Loved the story. It was very entertaining and finished with a great quote. I’m glad the teacher saved you from a mental health breakdown. Cheers Irene

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks Irene! Glad you enjoyed it and the quote too – so very true don’t you think? ;-)
      Haha! Yes, that whole ‘Candy Kid’ thing drove me to the brink, let me tell you… ;-)

  33. Sunni Morris says:

    Nice story, Sherry, and I love the quote at the end.


  34. Ahhh this one made me laugh and I remember both those vehicles!!! And your dear boy, I am a bit miffed even now hearing about it. How could anyone overlook that sweet adorable face and I am objective when I say he so sweet and precious!! What’s the teacher’s her name I will be on the lookout!! :)
    Sherri, today was a sad day for me cause I was supposed to see the children and grandchildren and couldn’t (fill you in later) so this was just the ticket, pun intended! xo <3

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh yes, dearest Diane, I was so hoping you would get to this post for so many reasons! You would indeed remember both those vehicles very well ;-)
      It was really horrible, poor baby :-( The teacher left that year, say no more…
      Of course, I’m reading this so late (seemed to have missed the notifications of all your lovely replies, so going back now and catching up and here I am a full 10 days later and of course we have caught up since then). So glad though this post cheered you up when you were feeling sad :-( Pun and all, LOL :-) xoxo

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