May 19, 1966, Appleton Post-Crescent
Seeing this type of steering wheel reminds me of a bit of family folklore I heard a few too many times growing up. My father used to tell, what I took as a cautionary tale as I approached driving age, of how my older brother inadvertently hit the gas instead of the brakes one night in backing out the family car, accelerating rapidly across DePere Street into the neighbor's tree. In his telling of the tale, my brother returned to our house, shaken, holding the steering wheel in his hand.
In later years, my brother confirmed that it wasn't the steering wheel at all, but rather, the horn ring, as shown above. I guess the damage to the back end of the car played second fiddle in this story because that aspect was rather boring, if you think about it. I mean, didn't we all spend our childhoods laughing at cartoon characters crashing their cars and stagger off, wheel in hand while birds or stars flew around their heads? Naturally, Dad's version was a more entertaining and alarming version, though I wondered, if through repetition, it just got more and more involved. Or did he really remember it that way? In retrospect, hearing the true story wasn't as much fun as the original. It was sort of like when I learned the truth as to why the final "e" was added to my last name by my Italian grandfather. But that's a story for another day.