Day’s Verse:
“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.”
Matthew 6:19-21-ish

Growing up, I wanted to drive a Kenworth. From ages 6 to 16, I aspired only to drive a semi-truck (notice that this aspiration faded once I actually learned how to drive). When most girls put up posters of pretty things, or (later) boy bands they “loved,” I wrote to Kenworth and received, gratis, a plethora of shiny marketing posters. I’m sure the PR people were delighted to have a young girl into their trucks, and they reflected this by sending me any literature I wanted. I papered my walls with these posters.

With no small effort, I put up a gigantic homemade “Sullivan Trucking Company” banner on my ceiling.

One year, I held a Kenworth birthday party, where a friend who drove a Kenworth picked me and my friends up from school in his cab, drove us to my house, and we washed his truck (a bonus for him — I’m sure washing a cab that big is an onerous task, generally!).

I knew everything about Kenworth specs. On the freeway, I called out different makes and models of Kenworths, at times even knowing the year, the engine, its intended use. I disdained cabovers (for the uninitiated, they look like this) and Peterbilt trucks (illogically, as they’re actually made by the same parent company, like Ford and Mercury). I knew all the brands of semi trucks by sight and could recognize them from across a crowded freeway, by just the glimpse of a bumper or curve of a wheel well.

All this to say that I loved trucks. At age 12, on a family vacation on the Oregon Coast, we happened to pass a sign that said Little River Miniature Trucking Company. I couldn’t pass it by, and my parents indulged me by making a detour. I don’t remember anything about the place itself, except that it was full of handmade wooden model trucks. Some were small and modest, but I saw the big ones and fell in love. You could customize them, choosing colors and putting whatever you wanted on the side of the cab. I had to have a big model semi truck.

Of course, Mom and Dad didn’t buy me one, but they said that if I really wanted one, I could save up and buy it for myself. They were expensive; for a 12-year-old with a small allowance, they were very expensive. Probably they thought this was a whim, and once I left, I’d forget about it and spend my small savings on something else.

I didn’t.

It took months to save up the cost of that truck, but I never gave up. Eventually I saved enough to buy the model truck of my dreams. Then, once we put in the order (by mail, of course), it took more months of waiting for them to make and ship the truck to me. I have no idea how long the entire process took, but it felt like an eternity. Finally, one day, UPS delivered a big, huge box with my name on it.

It contained my Kenworth.

I never crawled around on the floor and played with this truck the way I did other ones. I’d worked hard to earn it, and I valued it deeply. Too deeply to scratch or dent it. I caressed it gently, I put it on a shelf and admired it, occasionally I rolled it around very carefully, and of course I dusted it. I valued it so deeply that I own it to this day, and have given the cab a place of honor on our bookshelf. It’s a very real part of who I was, and I’m proud of that part. And who knows? Some day I may yet end up driving a Kenworth. Anything’s possible.

Oh, yes. I’ll be a good mom for a son.

Overall View

Rear View

Cab Side View

Cab Front View

Cab Rear View

Cab Side View

Detail

Invoice
$103.86. That’s like the cost of a new car, to us adults.

4 thoughts on “My Kenworth Love

  1. It was a magical year when you planned for, purchased, and finally received the Kenworth. I recall your agonizing over the color scheme. Fortunately, you had months to decide since it took you so long to save up for it. How sweet that you still have the invoice, made out to a very grown-up sounding “Kathleen” Sullivan. Your first adult-seeming purchase! Back then you weren’t concerned about the proper use of apostrophes in the paint job… 🙂

    May I make an amendment to your story? Your obsession with Kenworths started when you were a mere 3 years old and I took you to the employees’ open house at the South Seattle Kenworth manufacturing plant. You were smitten. They had one of the Kenworth cabs from the James Bond movie and drove it on the wheels on just one side – and they showed a video of this cab popping a wheelie.
    You even drew pictures of Kenworth cabs with you inside as gifts for the safety director at the plant, with whom I worked as a consultant.

    Ian should be proud to have displaced such an early and enduring love of your life. Once you celebrate your 11th anniversary, your love for Ian will have lasted as long as your love for Kenworth. A sobering thought.

  2. Katie,

    This morning I Googled my parent’s old business, Little River Miniature Trucking Company, and I found your page.

    I cannot begin to express my joy when reading your post. My parents do not realize how many lives they touched with their trucks so I am sharing this with them on Facebook.

    I cannot count the number actual of hours dad spent in the shop meticulously cutting and securing each piece, and mom spent at the kitchen table with photos and a magnifying glass with paint brushes in hand making sure every detail was perfect on every truck. The pride and love was overwhelmingly evident as nothing was ever shipped until it was perfect!

    I am so glad to find, even after almost 20 years, that their work is still loved and appreciated. Thank you so much and may you enjoy your creation for many more years to come!!

    Sincerely,

    Elizabeth Mondragon,
    Daughter of
    George and Ann Bodyfelt
    Creators of Little River Miniature Trucks

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