Nigh on thirty years ago, when I was seventeen or eighteen or thereabouts I drove my mom and two older sisters into Chicago in a snowstorm to visit our dad. My parents separated when I was fourteen and divorced when I was fifteen. My oldest sister was out of the house already at that time and the one in the middle lived for a year or so with dad before she went off to college. I lived with my mom until after high school.
After the middle sister went off to college dad moved to Chicago, Ill. Sometime around my senior year in high school (might have been a year before that; might have been the year after, I don't really remember) my mom and my sisters and I went to Chicago to dad's apartment for Christmas. As we neared Chicago we hit a fairly heavy snowstorm. Of the four women in the car, me, my mom and my two older sisters I was the one who ended up driving us into Chicago in the snowstorm as the others were too scared to do it.
Given my driving (and passenger record) at the time, this might not have been the best choice. Between the age of 16 and 19 I was in five automobile accidents and one motorcycle accident. Three of the car accidents totalled the vehicle that I was in. They were:
Gremlin vs. Buick: I was in the Gremlin as a passenger when it got t-boned and totalled by a buick;
Chevette vs. Monte Carlo: I was driving a friend's parents' brand new Chevette when it was rear ended by a drunk in a Monte Carlo; Chevette totalled;
Honda Civic (back in the days when they were really little cars) vs. One ton pick-up truck: I was a passenger in the Honda when it was rear-ended at a stop light by a drunk in the pick up truck. This one was really interesting as the truck hit us twice. First it hit us and knocked us out into the intersection and then as we were still spinning it hit us again as it tried to flee the scene. The police said that if we HAD been wearing seatbelts they would have needed the jaws of life to cut us out of that car. As it was we both got nasty whiplash and my neck has never been the same.
The motorcycle accident involved my genius high school boyfriend making a racing bet with a friend with a hotrod car that he could beat him to a certain destination even after giving him a ridiculous headstart. We plowed into the back of a car while doing 80 mph. I had no helmet, sandals and a shirt with just spaghetti straps. I was thrown quite a distance from the bike (they had to look for me in a ditch) knocked out and got road rash.
How and why I lived through these things is a real mystery. Nevertheless, I got my mom and sisters safely to Chicago that night. The photo above is from that visit. I'm the one in the back on the right with the huge hair. I am grinning like a maniac because I had recently gotten my braces off after having them for four years and having had two oral surgeries. I went around grinning maniacally for some time after that.