With so many stories and photos collected from his time as a driving instructor, Bayfield, Antigonish County resident Earl Randall decided the best way to share what he has gained from his career teaching others how to drive is through a book.
Let ’Er Roll: Tips and Stories to Improve your Driving came out around the first of the month and Randall, from Randall Driving School, is having a launch event May 1 at the People’s Place Library’s community room, starting at 7 p.m. All are welcomed to attend.
“This book is written in a manner that some people who read it may be able to improve their driving skills,” Randall wrote as a brief description of the book. “Many funny and interesting incidents and stories that took place in the driver training vehicle over the years are described.
“After each chapter, between 10 and 15 questions are given so that, after reading a chapter, a person could try and answer the questions; and if they have a problem, they can check the back of the book where the answers are given for all questions.”
In talking to the Casket April 5, Randall described his book as a “hybrid.”
“I’m not going to write two books and the two main groups of people who might want to read a book about driving skills would be the general public – people who just want something to read – and then, I said, this could be a driver trainer book,” Randall noted.
“So a book that’s good for the general public to read but, maybe, for driver training students and instructors who might decide to get the book and use it. Maybe one copy and use it from there, or they [instructors] might decide to get a whole set and pass it out.”
Randall is a long-time educator who first taught driving for high school students in the school he worked at, and then started his own driver training business.
“The first 30 classes I did in driving training were while I was teaching high school; this was in Mulgrave, mostly Mulgrave … that is where I taught high school. I taught high school there up until a number of years ago we then they took it out,” he said, noting first the then school board moving the high school grades to Port Hawkesbury and, eventually, the whole school closing.
“I took early retirement a number of years ago and then started my own driving school. I started doing about two classes every year from the [Dr. J.H. Gillis] Regional High School, two from East Antigonish [Education Centre/Academy] in Monastery, and then some private. I would say it was more than a half-time job, probably closer to three-quarters.
“When did I start to write the book? It was a little more than a year ago; January of last year. The bulk of it was written from January through to July, I had a bit of it done before. Two or three chapters I had written before that, but then I had to change some.”
Randall noted he completed it about the middle of July and sent it to publisher Tellwell with the hopes of getting it back near the end of this past November. He even booked the library’s community room for a launch in early December, but the three to four month waiting period he was told to expect lasted about twice as long.
“Into January, February and I received it, finally, four or five days ago.”
The book is full of photos, mostly local (more than 50 from the Town of Antigonish, more than 40 from Bayfield and about 10 from Mulgrave), with another 30 from Halifax and various parts of Canada and the U.S.
The back cover includes a passage from long-time St. F.X. professor Teresa MacNeil; the founder of the university’s Masters of Adult Education program, from which Randall earned a degree.
“Randall’s treatment of ‘driving correctly’ is worthy of the best that is written about a skill many of us claim to have,” the first line of MacNeil’s passage reads.