The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: Family Ties

My wife posted a comment on Facebook the other day saying that she was teaching our sixteen year old son, Tyler how to drive and it did not go well.

Evidently they went to the movies and Michele let Tyler drive home and to a quick stop to McDonalds to grab a bite on the way. It turned into a heated exchange of yelling and screaming and I am sure a few words were said that you shouldn’t say on Sunday.

When they arrived home everyone went their separate ways and they all ate their Mickey D’s alone.

I miss being able to be there to teach Tyler how to drive. While I am up here chasing a dream the family is in Denver and taking part in family milestones such as these. I sometimes even question if this was the right thing to do…

But when I saw the post on Facebook and later in a conversation with Michele I could not help but remember my first days driving.

When I was 15 1/2 (and my driving permit firmly in hand) my dad, who was living in Richmond (VA) at the time–we living outside of DC with my mom and “new” dad, brought up a 1971 Volkswagen Super Beatle. We went over to my high school parking lot on a Sunday and he got out of the car and handed me the keys and said, “if you learn how to drive this car it is yours.”

What a challenge! It took me the better part of the afternoon to master the clutch and the gears and the roller ball thingy that was the accelerator. I figured it out and true to his word, Dad left me the car and he took a Greyhound bus home.

I was so proud of that car. But fate would have it I probably only drove it 10 miles. Nothing worked on that thing. It broke down at every corner and we eventually sold it before I even got my license.

I remember my sixteenth birthday like it was yesterday. It was a cool morning and my mom took me out of school early to go get my drivers license. We drove over in the Family Truckster and my number was finally called for the driving portion of the test.

The meek lady that was my evaluator reminded me of Shelley Duvall that played in the movie, The Shinning. She buckled he seat belt and I turned on the car. The radio was blasting Van Halen’s Running with the Devil of all things and when I reached to turn it down, Mrs. DMV said leave it on.

We drove a few circles around the mega-mall, Potomac Mills (they had one of the first Ikea’s in the States) and she passed me with flying colors.

I had grand plans of getting a souped up muscle car or maybe a Toyota 4×4 like the cool one in Back to the Future (1985) but I ended up with my parents 1978 Plymouth Volare

Yep thats the one….

I drove that car literally till the wheels fell off. It was a different time then. It was a time when we had to have all A’s and B’s before mom and dad would give us the keys and always walked on eggshells because at the slightest indiscretion they would yank them away.

I never thought about playing hookie from school or staying out all night. I didn’t have a cell phone yet and my parents didn’t stay up worrying. They didn’t track my movements with a GPS hidden in the dash that tracked my speed and mileage.

It was a time when our friends were important but we knew that there was something bigger for us out in the world. A time when the world didn’t seem to end if we broke up with our girlfriend or lost the game on Friday night before a 2,000 fans in the bleachers.

A time before Columbine and 9/11. A time before kids would refuse to look up from their phones and take the headphone out of their ears to stop and smell the roses.

It was a time before the world lost its innocence…

Robert Forto | Team Ineka | Alaska Dog Works | Mushing Radio | Dog Works Radio | Denver Dog Works


Dr. Robert Forto is a musher training for his first Iditarod under the Team Ineka banner and the host of the popular radio shows, Mush! You Huskies and Dog Works Radio Shows

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About robertforto

Robert Forto is the owner of Dog Works Training Company in Alaska, a canine behaviorist, mushin' down a dream, sports nut and radio show host. Robert writes a lot about his observations in Alaska, pop culture, music, and of course dogs!

View all posts by robertforto

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One Comment on “The Future Home of Iditarod Dreams: Family Ties”

  1. michele forto Says:

    You wont miss out on teaching them to drive.


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