Thursday, January 17, 2013

They do grow up fast, don’t they?

Note, after checking road conditions and the weather prognosis we’ve decided to head out this morning for Slovenia.  Have a fine weekend,  and I’ll catch you on the flip side.







After this one,  I promise to stay away from the “news” for a while.  Honest.


Runaway 13-year-old boy drives across Europe



Ooh look,  there we are…

A 13-year-old runaway boy who took his father's car and drove nearly 1,000km (620 miles) across Europe is being re-united with his family.

The boy fled after a reported row with his parents in Italy.

Having driven from Italy into Austria, he proceeded to Germany where he was stopped by police after his family had alerted Interpol.

The boy, who had been adopted two years ago, was reportedly heading to his original home country, Poland.

The teenager lives in the northern Italian town of Montebelluna.

After an argument with his adoptive mother - allegedly over a mobile phone payment - the boy, a keen go-cart racer, left on Thursday afternoon.

And he seems to have been completely confident at the wheel of his father's high-powered Mercedes car.

Mercedes-Benz cars.


The boy was said to be comfortable behind the wheel

His parents say he was probably heading for Poland - he was said to be missing his sister who lives there and to have been in touch with her via the internet, according to Italian media.

The car was eventually tracked and stopped near Moisburg, about 150km from the Polish border.

Police said it was "incredible" that the boy-driver had managed to cross two international borders and filled up with petrol twice without anyone en route raising the alarm.

The teenagers parents are understood to have gone to Germany to bring him home.


Now,  you’re probably thinking at this point,  “Well Bob,  who cares, really?”  I mean, nobody got gunned down or anything.

The thing is,  this little story reminds me of something my ole Pappy told me once upon a time, when I was all of about 16.  I might have been 17, but I doubt I was much older.

By this point in our lives we had relocated from Nova Scotia to Ontario,  and it was the misguided notion of my father to go “back home” each summer for a visit.  I think he just wanted to show off.  I mean, both of my parents were gainfully employed, which wasn’t exactly a common thing for a fair chunk of Nova Scotia’s population at the time.   Not so sure it’s changed that much.

Of course,  Mom wanted ME to go along,  to “help with the driving”,  with the hidden agenda of trying to keep the two of them from getting wrapped around a tree somewhere in rural New Brunswick.  

See, the Old Man had a nasty habit of nodding off at the wheel. 

Ya,  scary shit that.

Of course, at the slightest indication that he was dozing off, with the subsequent offer of being relieved of his driving duties,  he would invariably counter with,  “Nope, I’m fine.”   and then proceed at some point to scare the living daylights out of us.

Vacations with Dad.  Oh ya.  Good times.  It’s a wonder we survived.


But here’s my little take on the “growing up” part.  At one point in time,  and I think he and I were driving through Middleton,  out of the blue he said, “You know,  it’s the damndest thing,  but when I was your age,  I knew how to get from our place out here,  and here you could drive back to Ontario if you had to.”   And he was right.  I knew the way.  It wouldn’t have been a problem.  Putting gas in the car might have been a consideration.  Well,  that and getting through Montréal but hey,  years later I would drive a class A motor home through Montréal,  so I’m sure I could have figured out how to get around Montréal in a ‘73 Caddy.

See,  by “our place”,  he was talking about the old farm out in Margaretville.  Well,  it’s now referred to as Margaretsville (and my spell check doesn’t even like that) but we always stood fast on leaving out that ‘s’.  It didn’t belong to Margaret,  it was just named after her.  Seems trying to use proper grammar goes way back in my family.  Some sort of genetic predisposition. 

OK, maybe that only applies to those of us with higher education.  Never mind.

No idea who Margaret was, and besides, my older siblings referred to the place as “Maggotville” most of the time anyway. 

Ya ‘cause,  they just loved growing up there.

Poor bastards.

Remember that “forced labour” on the farm thing?  Right.


It was roughly ten miles (no, not kilometres,  this was back when we too,  had miles.)  from the farm out to Middleton,  and my father had to know the way at the age of 16,  since his parents had bought a Model A Ford.  Neither one of them wanted to drive the thing of course,  which meant that my Dad was pressed into service.  He probably could have driven around most anywhere without a license,  since there weren’t that many cars on the road,  but they thought it best that he should get one.  The place to do that was at the Stedmans in Middleton.   There was no such thing as a “Licence Bureau”.  It was usually something handled over the counter at your local drug store,  or in this case, a department store.

This would have been about 1924.


So this is how it went down.  My Dad and Grandpa (whom I never met, by the way) saunter into the Stedmans, and mosey over to the counter.

“We’re here to get my son his driver’s licence”.

The clerk looks at my Dad and says,  “Can you drive?”

“Yup. Drove here from Margaretville”.

“Well, that’s good enough, here you go.  That’ll be two dollars.”

And that’s how you got your license in 1924.   Damn good thing those cars had sturdy bumpers,  and couldn’t do much more than about 25.


Me?  Even though I had been driving for at least a little while,  I still thought it prudent to take “Young Drivers of Canada” when I turned 16 to help with my insurance rates,  and nowadays?   Hell,  you damned near have to promise your first born!

There’s what?  G1.   G2.   Gee, this is getting expensive!






That’s it.  That was the “story”.   Time is fleeting.  Have to jump in the shower.  Later.


Thanks for stopping in.




  1. Wishing it was only driving they do early....

  2. Interesting story about the license for sure. I remember getting my drivers license on my 16th birthday, Short driving test and away I go. I had been driving quite a bit since I was 12. Then the government decided you needed a motorcycle licence to operate one. So went to the office signed piece of paper saying I had driven a motorcycle and there ya have it now I am good to go.
    Things do change.

  3. My mother called it "Driver's Rights" and though she hadn't driven since 1942 she kept renewing them almost until she passed away. She told me that if anything happened to me while I was driving, she could take me to the hospital. (I told her that I stood a better chance is she'd just let me lay)

  4. Cute story. My dad always tells the stories about when he was young living on the farm. He was driving the truck when he was 13. When his dad was busy milking cows, dad would just drive the truck into town to pick up supplies at 13. No one thought a thing of it.

    Safe travels.

  5. Joe said he started driving in North Dakota on the farm "on his grandpa's knee" but by himself at about age 12 he'd take the old Ford tractor with a two bottom plow out in the fields to help. And at age 14 he was driving from the farm to the little town near by ( a couple of miles) without a license.
    I enjoy your blog!

  6. That was an expensive license back in 1924 - two dollars! Must have had to save up for a couple of months?

  7. Wow - $2, your word and then a drivers license?! Times sure have changed! Thanks for sharing this great story. Young Drivers of Canada is still around and preparing drivers for the road ahead (maybe some good things don't change) :)


Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.