A few weeks ago, John Curran came to me with an idea he had to help Truck News celebrate its 21st “coming of age” birthday.
He said he was going to ask a few of the past editors to write a column about their most poignant memories of the days they spent sitting in the chair he now occupies.
Without thinking, I told him it was a great idea. Then it sunk in … that meant I would have to write one of those columns.
Since I handed over the editor’s torch quite a few years ago and reincarnated myself as an account rep, I haven’t really done very much writing, not for publication anyway. So I approached the task at hand with a little trepidation. But as I sat down in front of my computer with that blank white page staring me down, a familiar feeling washed over me. It was the same feeling I had every month during my six-year term as editor of Truck News as I sat down to write my column – the somewhat overwhelming feeling of wondering what choice words of wisdom I could muster to fill that blank page.
My mind travelled back to the day I first donned the editor’s cap at Truck News. I remember the feeling of elation. I was on top of the world. I finally had my own book. I was in charge. As editor in chief, I was going to change the world (or at least the world of trucking). Oh, isn’t naivety bliss!
Needless to say, I didn’t change the world, or even the world of trucking.
In fact, if anything, it changed me. When I arrived at Truck News, wide-eyed and ready to conquer the world, I was, needless to say, still a little young and naive in many ways. In a sense, I grew up professionally at Truck News. I learned many valuable lessons that I still carry with me today.
I found out very quickly that being “in charge” wasn’t as glamorous as the picture I had painted in my mind. It was a lot of hard work with long hours and more than its fair share of stress.
I learned that the job of imparting news to an entire industry carried with it a great deal of responsibility.
I took that responsibility seriously … but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have any fun. The job definitely did have its rewards.
I remember the time, in 1991, that assistant editor Karen Riva and I spent three days at the Detroit/Windsor border surrounded by angry, protesting truckers. We had planned to travel to Windsor for the day, talk to a few protesters, take a few pictures and then drive home again. I guess we got caught up in the euphoria of covering a breaking news story because, three days later, we were still there. By the time we left, our clothes could probably have walked home on their own.
We were physically and mentally exhausted, but we had enough copy and photographs to fill half of the next issue, which is exactly what we did. It turns out, it was that issue that helped us win the Southam Business Communications “Publication of the Year” award that year. Having been an editor for less than a year at that point, I was pretty proud of that award.
The editor’s job also afforded me the opportunity to see the world (or at least North America). I love to travel and, by the end of my stint at Truck News, I had been to every province in Canada, to many of the 50 United States and to Sweden. I met some great people, some of them friends to this day.
I fondly remember the hospitality of the fine folks of St. John’s, Nfld. when (as a result of a clerical error) I found myself without a hotel room one night. There really is no better place in this world to be stranded (in the summer anyway) than St. John’s.
George St. was more than accommodating that night. Anyone who has been to St. John’s knows what I mean. Let’s just say that the morning found me with vague memories of kissing a cod fish, dancing a jig or two and drinking more than my fair share of Screech.
Another memorable press trip took me to “the rubber capital of the world,” Akron, Ohio. I know what you’re thinking … when someone says “Akron,” “fun” and “memorable” aren’t the first words that pop into your head. But, on this occasion, I not only got to ride in the Goodyear blimp, but my parting gift was a little bigger than any other I had ever taken home.
While everyone else left toting a Goodyear duffle bag, I left with the young man (not so young anymore) who was to become my husband.
My days at Truck News (the good and the bad) are ones that I will always treasure. I grew. I learned. I laughed.
Thanks for the memories!
– Over the next two months, we’ll have more guest columns from some of the faces you remember from the past. It’s all part of our 21st birthday celebration.
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