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Good Wives Don't Drive

Joan Jobe Smith
Joan Jobe Smith
  • My father refused to teach my mother
  • how to drive his car. He said it
  • wasn’t ladylike in 1949; a woman driver
  • was no better than a streetwalker. She was
  • to take the bus and be a good wife like
  • his mother was, so my mother took secret
  • driving lessons, the instructor man
  • coming every day in his grey sedan
  • to show her how to let out the clutch
  • just right so the car wouldn’t jerk, how
  • to work the choke and the radio, make
  • turn signals, arm bent up for right,
  • straight out for left, down for slow,
  • me in the backseat watching as we drove
  • the L.A. streets: Firestone, Rosemead,
  • Sunset Boulevard, Pico, La Brea and
  • Santa Fe and the day she got her driver’s
  • license she bought herself a green 1939
  • Ford coupe and waited in the front seat
  • in the driveway for my father to come home,
  • honked the horn at him when he arrived
  • and said Hey handsome, need a ride?

Joan Jobe Smith is the founding editor of the literary journals Pearl and Bukowski Review. She worked for seven years as a go-go girl in Southern California before receiving her BA from CSULB and MFA from UCI. Her literary profile, Charles Bukowski: Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me), was recently published by Silver Birch Press, and her memoir Tales of An Ancient Go-Go Girl is forthcoming from World Parade Books. “Good Wives Don’t Drive” was included in a 2001 City Lights publication, Another City, edited by David Ulin, and will appear shortly in re(verb, a Long Beach-based literary journal.

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Joan Jobe Smith
Joan Jobe Smith
  • My father refused to teach my mother
  • how to drive his car. He said it
  • wasn’t ladylike in 1949; a woman driver
  • was no better than a streetwalker. She was
  • to take the bus and be a good wife like
  • his mother was, so my mother took secret
  • driving lessons, the instructor man
  • coming every day in his grey sedan
  • to show her how to let out the clutch
  • just right so the car wouldn’t jerk, how
  • to work the choke and the radio, make
  • turn signals, arm bent up for right,
  • straight out for left, down for slow,
  • me in the backseat watching as we drove
  • the L.A. streets: Firestone, Rosemead,
  • Sunset Boulevard, Pico, La Brea and
  • Santa Fe and the day she got her driver’s
  • license she bought herself a green 1939
  • Ford coupe and waited in the front seat
  • in the driveway for my father to come home,
  • honked the horn at him when he arrived
  • and said Hey handsome, need a ride?

Joan Jobe Smith is the founding editor of the literary journals Pearl and Bukowski Review. She worked for seven years as a go-go girl in Southern California before receiving her BA from CSULB and MFA from UCI. Her literary profile, Charles Bukowski: Epic Glottis: His Art & His Women (& me), was recently published by Silver Birch Press, and her memoir Tales of An Ancient Go-Go Girl is forthcoming from World Parade Books. “Good Wives Don’t Drive” was included in a 2001 City Lights publication, Another City, edited by David Ulin, and will appear shortly in re(verb, a Long Beach-based literary journal.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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