Driving Grandma

It is hard to imagine not driving–not getting into your car and driving whenever and wherever you want. But that was the case with both of my grandmothers. Neither one could drive. At least neither one ever had a driver’s license or drove an automobile.

My grandmothers, Gertrude (Brewster) Miller and Hilda (Scaer) Schumm, always relied on someone to take them wherever they needed or wanted to go. Usually that someone was grandpa–grandpa Miller or grandpa Schumm.

I am not sure why my grandmothers did not have driver’s licenses. Were they afraid of driving? Did they think they would not pass the driver’s test? Were they so busy around the house that they didn’t have time to drive around? Or was it just something that women didn’t do so much back then? After all, I remember a time when married women seemed to lose their given name after marriage. My grandmothers were known as Mrs. Carl Miller and Mrs. C.L. Schumm.

Ohio drivers were first required to have a driver’s license in 1936. I guess before that time anyone could just drive if they wanted?

Below is a copy of my dad’s chauffeur’s license. I found this last year and I did not even know he had a chauffeur’s license.

Herb Miller Chauffeur’s License, 1959-62.

Evidently Ohio drivers did have to register their vehicles earlier than they had to get a driver’s license. Here is a copy of grandpa Miller’s Ford vehicle registration in 1923:

Carl Miller Ford vehicle registration, 1923.

My grandpa Miller’s vehicle registration in 1927. It appears he was driving the same Ford vehicle:

Carl Miller Ohio vehicle registration, 1927.

Here is a photo of my grandpa Miller by his car.

Carl Miller, undated photo.

I remember when grandpa Miller used to drive grandma (and me) over to visit her mother Pearl Brewster in Geneva. Grandpa also took us shopping to the Fair Store in Berne, where grandma bought her spring garden seeds. I also remember going with them to grandma’s medical visits to Doc Osborn in Willshire.



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    • Judy Edmonds on January 6, 2017 at 11:49 am
    • Reply

    Thanks again.
    You made me realize that neither of my Grandmothers drove. My Paternal Grandmother tried to learn and was taken by my Grandfather to the pasture to practice. She proceeded to take out the fence and refused to try again. I know I never heard of my Grandma Heuer driving either. There were times they returned to Ohio from Nebraska with as many as 8 in a Model A. They could only use one door, as all the luggage was tied to the passenger side, resting on the running boards. 2 had to sit on small wooden stools, between the front and back seats. They stayed at cabins along the way, with all men and all women in separate cabins.

    1. Interesting stories, Judy. Amazing to think of a Model A making a journey that far. They probably didn’t go very fast and it was likely a long trip, that, from the sound of it, was rather uncomfortable. Thanks for writing!

    • Jane Suzuki on January 6, 2017 at 6:46 pm
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    My Grandma Alma Bollenbacher Stephenson Now, didn’t drive until after my Grandpa was killed in an automobile accident. She was nt quite 60 when she learned to drive. What I remember most about her driving was that she prayed out loud when she drove! Dear Jesus help me make it through the bridge! That kinda scared me! We all still talk about her driving!

    1. How funny! That would be rather scary for the passengers. I am beginning to think that most women of that generation did not drive unless they had to. Thanks for writing!

    • Jane Suzuki on January 8, 2017 at 7:32 am
    • Reply

    It was!

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