My first driving lesson was with my dad in the parking lot of St. Mary’s Parish in Dartmouth. I can still remember him asking me to park in one specific spot and “hitting” the make-believe car right next to it in the attempt. The next lesson was at DeMello Elementary School and it was a little better. Before long, I was practicing on the back roads of town and then eventually the highway.

My little sister is now 17 and has her license. She is much better at driving than I was at her age and practiced in all of the same spots I did. It was fun to take a trip down memory lane as I took her out driving a few times.

We asked our audience where they first learned to drive on the SouthCoast and it’s interesting to see so many people have the same memories of this right of passage. I was the only one who mentioned a church parking lot, but everyone else would agree that an empty parking lot of some kind is the best place to start. From the old Swansea Mall and Horseneck Beach to the grocery stores and schools on nights and weekends, everyone seemed to have taken that first step on the same grounds.

Jo-Anne Gallant
Jon Malita
Contributed by Katie Carvalho

The industrial parks located in New Bedford and Fall River were also mentioned a lot.

It is worth noting that more than a few people commented that their first driving experience was at a local cemetery. Samantha Sylvia Oliviera explained it best.

Contributed by Samantha Sylvia Oliveira

Tell us where you first learned to drive and if you’ve brought your children to the same place for their first lesson.

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