Why didn't Mother drive? All the other mothers did, and her not driving meant that Fiorella walked, alone, to and from school quite a bit--and one of those blocks was a little scary.
The family had just one car, but other one-car families managed by packing the kids in the car, giving the wife the wheel so she could drop husband off at work and the kids off at school, then have the car at home all day for errands. As it was, Fio and her brother depended on the kindness of friends and neighbors. And they rode the motion-sickness inducing bus with Mother when she needed to go downtown or take them to a doctor. And they rode the bus alone if they needed to attend special classes across town--Fiorella was making a two-bus transfer to Baylor Children's Theater when she was nine.
It was all character-building, but when Fio turned sixteen, she enrolled for a summer class in Driver's Ed, and she hasn't looked in the rear-view mirror since. Four years into her marriage, she and Husband became a two-car family, and not only did all of their kids get driven to school, but Fio would provide rides to any and all.
But why didn't Mother drive?
When questioned, she blamed a childhood problem with her left eye, but that was bogus--Fiorella herself lost all central vision in one of her eyes back in her college days and kept on driving. So maybe it was a bad wreck that had scared Mother into the passenger seat--Uncle Ivan let it slip she had driven as a teenager. Or maybe Mother thought, as she intimated through the years, that driving was unfeminine, that the husband should be the one behind the wheel. Whatever, Mother never took up driving again, and now it doesn't matter.
But it's interesting to speculate about.