Monday, March 28, 2011

Tag Tuesday - VIntage Sewing, and a Story: AGAINST THE ODDS

The tag challenge this week is Vintage Sewing. There were 20 people responding last week, my first week for running the challenge - I think that's great! If you want to see how I made this tag, and see the Sampler of the other artists' work, click here!

(click for detail)

There is glitter on the tag, it just doesn't show in the photo  - boo!

Against The Odds
14th in the Tuesday Story Series

Many years go, in the Seventies, I used to work in the Accounts Payable department of Ryder Truck Rental in Columbia, SC. Ryder is a large national chain, and rents everything from small trucks to tractor trailers. Working in an office was not really a good job for me, but I had to take what I could get at the time. After being there for a while, I heard about a way to earn extra money. Because so many trucks would be rented at point A and driven to point B, there were times when some of the trucks at point B would need to be moved back to to point A. Did you follow that? And Ryder paid extra money to a qualified driver to move trucks on weekends by taking drivers in a van to where ever there were too many trucks, and they'd drive them back. The picture below is the familiar small truck seen on the road.

A qualified driver meant that you had to have your CDL - Commercial Driver's License. And to have one of those, you needed to take several tests, one of them being a road test. So I thought it would be fun to apply for my CDL and earn extra money on weekends. Now, remember, this was the Seventies, and you just did not see many women at that time driving trucks. And the attitude among many in the industry was that was the way it was supposed to be!

I talked with my office supervisor, Chuck, about the steps to take. To my surprise, he was very supportive and told me what I needed to do. I had to take an exam and then the Safety Manager would take me out on the road. And the choice of truck would be his. So I took the next available exam and tried to schedule my road test. The Safety Manager kept putting me off and several weeks went by. Meanwhile, I practiced on the lot with whatever truck was available.

Finally I harassed him enough that he gave in. He told me that I could take the test the next day at 5 pm. Did I mention that he was a man with a very strong chauvinistic bent? Five o'clock traffic in Columbia was horrible, and the city is hilly. Nevertheless, I was ready, and met him in the yard the next day.

The first thing I noticed was that he picked the longest straight body truck in the yard. A straight body truck is the biggest you can get before a tractor trailer, something like the one below. 

We climbed into the cab and off we went. As I changed gears, drove through traffic and had to stop and start on steep hills, he would pepper me with questions from the manual. I was a little nervous but managed to answer everything, even as I feigned confidence. When we finally returned, he didn't say anything to me, just got out of the truck and headed inside. Somewhat confused, I followed him and saw him go into Chuck's office. I went over to my desk and waited. I could see him through the glass walls, slumped in his chair and shaking his head.

Convinced I had messed up somewhere, I kept running the test through my head, trying to figure out what I had done wrong. Then I saw Chuck smiling at him and they both got up and came out. The Safety Manager mumbled "You did fine. You should have your CDL in a couple of days." and walked off. Relieved, I turned to Chuck who was laughing. He said the guy came in, sat down, muttered an expletive, and said "I don't believe it! She passed!" I was thrilled! And the rest of the time I worked at Ryder, I spent a lot of my weekends driving all over the state in a truck, making pretty good money! And enjoying it!


  1. Your tag is lovely! Love the colors and the textures. Yay for the good response you have gotten! And thanks for a most engaging story! Love you!

  2. Love your tag and the story is great !
    Hugs, Amy

  3. Loved your story about the truck driving test. You are one gutsy lady. I don't think I could have ever done that. You are probably instrumental in opening up the field to other women.

    Your sewing tag is gorgeous. I love the scissors.

  4. HA! I guess you showed him now didn't you?!? Way to go :o)
    Your tag is FAB, love all the goodies you added on.
    You and John are always in my prayers - love to you.


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