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Annabella Wood • Bluebell, Pa. • Driver for 30 years
It was tough at first, but I?loved it. I drove for almost 30 years and retired in 2002. I was ready to try other things.
So I enrolled in college and started a handywoman business to earn money while I was in school. I was 45 when I started college; I graduated with a degree in religion, spirituality and holistics with a concentration in quantum physics theory. I also recorded a lot of music, including “Truck Driving Mama,” the song that pulled me out of retirement.
I got a call from the Twilight Wish Foundation because somebody there saw my video on YouTube for “Truck Driving Mama.” Twilight Wish is a charity foundation that grants wishes for seniors. The woman from the foundation told me, “We have an octogenarian whose lifelong dream has been to ride cross-country in a semi-truck. We want you to be that driver. Can you help us?”
I thought it was great. I was going to grant the wish of this 82-year-old woman, but I felt like I would be helping women in trucking in general.
I flew to Florida, where Margarette lives with her husband of 53 years, and we got to know each other. We had to see if we could be in a truck together for 6,000 miles before anything else. It’s a hard thing to do. Margarette was an absolute pistol. I knew we could get along in a truck.
We rented the truck from Penske, and when Margarette saw it she said, “Well, we’re just going to have to sleep in this truck one night. I’m not going through all this trucking and not have a night in the truck.” She had always loved trucks too, but life got in her way: marriage, kids and school.
Truly, the minute we left, I knew Margarette was going to have a blast. She lit up a like a little girl, seeing all the scenery. As truckers, we get to see that all the time, and sometimes we forget what a privilege it is.
Along the way we made stops at nursing homes. Margarette gave inspirational talks to her peers, and I would play a tune or two. I’ve learned a lot, most of all about the importance of remembering our senior generation.
I loved seeing everything through Margarette’s excited eyes. I mean, there she was, 82 years old in 4-inch boots, climbing up on the truck, grabbing the mirror to get up on the steering tire, and then she squeegeed the bugs off the window — in those shoes!
Yet, the whole trip was bittersweet for me. I know that it could very well be my last trip on the road, so it was emotional. Margarette and I were the only two in that truck. An 82-year-old woman and a 52-year-old woman. And we got down the highway just fine.