A trucker’s life

Transitioning from working in a classroom to a truck cab is no easy task, but that’s exactly what Webster City resident Charlotte Stone did after 19 years of teaching.

Since becoming a professional trucker, Stone wrote a book about her experiences on the road. Stone will discuss her book, “Semi Serious,” at Kendall Young Library on Monday at 6:30 p.m. in the library’s meeting room.

In May of 2005, Stone found herself very stressed with her work. She said that May to a school teacher is the same as April 15 for someone who prepares taxes. Late one night, she spoke to her son-in-law, who had been a truck driver himself and had an odd solution to her stress.

“His first response was that I should try trucking,” Stone said. “I didn’t have anything to say at first because it was so off the wall for me to consider driving a semi as a grandmother and a teacher for 19 years. It never crossed my mind to do something like trucking.”

Stone sat on the idea for about a week until she found an opportunity to leave her job as a teacher. She left before she applied to a trucking program, but was confident that trucking was her calling. She was later accepted into the trucking program at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge.

There, she learned about the ins and outs of commercial trucking. She quickly learned how to keep logs, learned about time restrictions for her driving and more. Still, the transition to the cab was intimidating for Stone, who stands at about five feet, four inches tall.

“I stood by one of these trucks, and I just went, ‘Wow,'” Stone said. “My height didn’t even come up to the seat inside the truck. That whole rookie year was full of things that were challenging,” Stone said. “I dealt with a lot of problem solving once I was on my own.”

Despite the intimidating nature of her new job, Stone found support from those around her. She said the first time she turned the key and drove a semi, she was partnered with a person who drove trucks in the Army. After going around the lot a few times, her partner said he was going to leave. Stone asked him if he was sure if that was a good idea.

“He said, ‘You certainly don’t need my help.’ It was little comments and compliments like that which pushed me along and helped me have the courage to keep going,” Stone said.

Semi Serious explores beyond Stone’s first forays into trucking. Through the chapters, Stone recounts not only the challenges and rewards of trucking, but also the people, places, animals, and seasons that Stone has experienced on the road. She calls on Bible verses that informed her experiences, shares photos of her time trucking and selections of her poetry.