AKRON, PA — Fourteen women, who are part of a 190-member online community consisting of truckers’ wives, converged on St. Louis June 10-13 to meet each other face to face.
The online group is designed to offer support to each other with friendship and advice while their hubbies are on the road. Dubbed the Family Center E-List, the group is part of the trucking website www.layover.com. The email community connects trucking families and is a place to make close ties. Truck drivers’ spouses and significant others find a listening ear and pass along their own experiences. For them, sitting down at the computer is like grabbing a cup of coffee at the local diner with their best friends.
Carol Kiley, the E-List moderator, is the mastermind behind the reunion. “I had the opportunity to meet several members of the list,” she said. “Each time I met one of the ladies, it created a more personal bond and a deeper friendship. I thought that everybody should have the opportunity I had.”
Kiley began planning the St. Louis reunion late last summer, coordinating hotel accommodations, flight schedules and event happenings. Fourteen women representing nine different states made the trek to put a face to their friendship.
“After you meet someone in person, you read their posts in a different way,” said Kiley. “It puts the facial expression and laugh in the emails, and it gives voice to what you read.”
The ladies visited the famous Gateway Arch, had lunch at Union Station and shopped along the river. Some of them made a trip to the Big Pevely Flea Market and a few adventurous ones enjoyed the thrill of trampoline bungee jumping.
“The reunion was nothing like I imagined, and yet more than I could have ever dreamed. I have never laughed so much in my life. I have never been more surrounded by love (other than the love of my husband and kids). I have never survived on so little sleep," said E-List member Cathie Yoesel.
This was the group’s second annual reunion. The first took place in the summer of 2003 in Atlanta, Georgia. The location for next year’s reunion has not yet been determined, but it is expected to draw even more participants.
“Another reunion is over, yet the reunion lives on in our hearts and in the memories we will carry with us,” said Kiley. “Left behind are echoes of the laughter and vestiges of the love that encircles this unique ‘family’ of women all bound together in the beginning by one common thread…trucking.”
The Layover Family Center E-List is open to anyone with a relationship to the trucking industry. The majority of the members are truckers’ spouses and significant others, along with a few drivers. The members share the daily happenings of this unique lifestyle via e-mail. To join the E-list you simply need to access Layover’s Family Center (http://www.layover.com/familycenter/elist.html) and click on the appropriate links.
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