Laura Wilkerson

Laura Wilkerson
Location
USA
Birthday
July 27

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Salon.com
MAY 28, 2012 5:44PM

Why My Father Stopped Cussing

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            I loved that tricycle. it was blue, my favorite color, with white pinstripes on the fenders. It was shiny and big, that Cadillac of tricycles.

            We had just moved into the little brick bungalow on Kipling Drive. It was a new subdivision full of young families. There was miles of smooth, flat, fresh-lain concrete sidewalks. My parents had purchased the model home. They got a discount because so many people had been through it.

            My dad had always been a nevous driver. He would do fine on long, straight, quiet roads but not so well in heavy traffic. He also had an almost in-born antipathy toward female drivers. Sometimes we would be in the car with hi when a lady driver would cut him off or some other irritant and he wold let loose with a "Gosh darn woman driver!" but he used to be much worse, yelling profanities even if the other driver had no chance of hearing them.

            I was about four years old when we moved to Kipling Drive. Our street was the very last one, running east-west and backed by a steep cliff topped by railroad tracks with nothing but blackberry brambles and open fields beyond that. On the other end, a long way away, the paved road stopped at woods.

           Soon after we moved in I was riding my tricycle as fast as I could toward the ditch when the little girl next door, Kathy Dowdy, age three, came racing up behind me on her common red trike, and flew past, the ribbons holding her long, blond-streaked hair in place fluttering in the wind, knocking me off the road and from my trike. Furious, I stood up and shaking my fist at her back I yelled, "Goddamned woman driver!" and from that day forward I never heard my dad utter another cuss word, either aimed at woman drives or anyone else.

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