I grew up in Sunderland. When I was nineteen, I passed my driving test – first time!
I’d been learning how to drive just to get it out of the way with. I didn’t have a car or any means to buy one. What I didn’t know was I was about to be given one.
My Grandad and Nana lived nearby. But we were worried about my Grandad’s health. A couple of weeks before my driving test there was a bit of a crescendo. My Grandad went to collect my Nana from ASDA but he lost his car. It took them 2-3 hours to find it. When they found it eventually it wasn’t even in car park.My Grandad wasn’t ever allowed to drive again. He was diagnosed with alzheimers.
What I didn’t know was the day before my driving test, Nana had said to my Dad that I could have the car if I passed. They didn’t tell me beforehand to avoid added pressure. It was already parked at my Mam and Dad’s. Nana didn’t want the car outside the house incase, on auto pilot, Grandad drove it off again.
A driving license and a car. It was a great surprise. I was really happy and really sad at same time. My Grandad never forgot his car. It was always’s ‘where’s me car’? I was really grateful for it but felt for him. He got more and more confused. He’s called Arthur, my Dad’s called Arthur. I’m called Amy and my Nana’s called Amy. It got more and more confusing with Amy’s and Arthur’s.
The car was an S reg silver Fiesta- with a tape deck.
I opened up the glove box and a couple of my Grandad’s tapes were there; Nat King Cole and Shirley Bassey. Shirley didn’t get a look in, but Nat King Cole’s Greatest Hits…
I always cry at his songs because it reminds me of being in that car.
My Grandad gave me a lot – he was a massive soul fan.
I still love ‘Fiona the Fiesta’ and I still love Nat King Cole.
Photo: Biddick Hall, South Tyneside