As my father, a retired Teamster, enters hospice this week, I got to thinking about trucking history and his part in it.
Dad started driving while in Germany during Korea. He drove duece & half's, av gas tankers and whatever assorted vehicles the motor pool had. He was a motor pool sergeant at one point too.
When they wanted a hot meal, they would use mechanics wire to attach the Chicken Croquettes in the K-Ration cans to the exhaust manifolds of the Hercules engines for a couple of hours. Rest stop, pop the top into your mess kit and as he said that was livin'
After he got out in 52 or so, he went back to the powerhouse at US Steel Gary Works but realized that what he was before the Army, no longer was important.
Sometime around then he met my mother. Then Dad tried his hand at railroading as switchman/brakeman on the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad-a shortline switching railroad in the Chicago Area. The railroad was probably Dad's greatest love other than farming & working with horses.
One could say that Dad was the original Teamster. He farmed with a team of Percheron horses until after WW2.
When he got cut off at the railroad, he went job hunting. Somehow he fell into steel hauling. Driving a gas powered International probably a KB-8 but could have been something else, he hauled steel around Chicago & up to Milwaukee and over to Detroit. This was in the days before Intestate highways. He ran the old 2 lane US trunks like US 41, US 12/20, US 6 etc,
Sleeping was over the steering wheel or across the doghouse in cabovers.
Somewhere around 1957 just before I was born, he joined the Teamsters.
He didn't join the Teamsters because he wanted to but more because he had to. Back then you either joined or well you know how it was then.
Sometimes being involved with the Teamsters was scary.
Dad worked as Teamster out of Local 142/Gary. He worked for several companies including Artim Transportation, Akron-Chicago Express, Craig Trucking(predecessor of today's Craig Transportation/Perrysburg,OH) B&L Motor Freight/Newark,OH and several others now long gone.
He finished up in 1992 hauling drywall board for US Gypsum out of East Chicago,IN. For the last several years, he was the site manager for home & outdoor living show in Crown Point,IN and he also displayed a garden railroad set-up around the Chicago Area in the early 2000's
He had a fair life--not spectacular but he did what he needed to do.
He made it to the Bahamas and Hawaii. Got bricks thrown at him when hauling nuclear power plant parts, fought with the state police and the DOT as needed. But, mainly Dad just "got with the program" as they say.
He never went to college but matriculated at Wottsmatta U.
He has probably forgotten more about trucking & the union than most us will ever know.
Dad had a saying--you probably saw it somewhere too--I have cleaned it up for family viewing.
"Iíve smoked dope, chewed rope, danced, French romanced, f*****, farted, fought, shot the moon and drove big trucks. Iíve been to Janesville Maine, Spain, Spokane and Fort Wayne, seen three world fairs, been around the world twice, looked danger in the face and seen goats f*** in the marketplace, but I ainít never seen no dung like the dung that goes on around this place."
Remember to love each other everyday like it was your last because you never know when it could be.
One has to hope heaven is perfect because if is not, God is getting one hell of handyman!
As Dad would say "boys, it's time to saddle up"
nickelplaterick, reading your post reminded me of my father and brought a tear to my eye. The many stories he told of his Navy days and the different jobs he had while supporting our family.................Hospice eased his pain and brought comfort to our family...................Thanks for a great post.