Webb-Pullman Drive1
Custom Built
by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

My father built a car one day
to teach his kids to drive.
A mower engine, clutch and brake,
the smartest Dad alive!

A steering wheel, a seat, two gears,
one forward and one back.
We fought to drive it every day
around the backyard track.

Big brother had to make it go,
wind up the rope, then pull.
With driver and a passenger
the little car was full.

We mowed the lawns, did extra chores
to pay for all the fuel
until we worked out we could charge
the other kids from school.

When Dad came home from work one day
and caught us with the cash
and all the kids lined up for turns
he said we’d done our dash.

The little car was sent away
and, sorry little tykes,
we moaned and moped ’til Dad gave up,
and built a motorbike.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My mother and my niece Bianca taken at our home in Hillary Crescent, Napier, New Zealand, 1973.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My father was a watchmaker, a pilot, and an engineer. He built a car when my parents were first married and couldn’t afford to buy one. After that, he built a motorbike, Go Karts, and more cars, including the small one for us kids. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of this little car, but I  the photo above shows the car he was constructing when he died in 1972. My brothers finished building it.


Mercedes Webb-Pullman
 graduated from IIML Victoria University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011. Her poems and the odd short story have appeared online and in print, in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, poetryrepairs, Connotations, The Red Room, Silver Birch Press, Otoliths, among others, and in her books. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand. Visit her at benchpress.co.nz.