High Heels & 18 Wheels: Confessions of a Lady Trucker
The story of Barbara T. Cecchini (Bobbie to her friends) is a tale of triumph over adversity. It tells how a girl from Philly overcomes a series of personal horrors, four failed marriages and one of the most painful illnesses in the medical lexicon.
In a harrowing introduction, we learn of appalling childhood abuse at the hands of her mother, and later her discovery of the battered body of her murdered father, a man she hardly knew.
Murder and mayhem continue to haunt Bobbie when she joins the United States Army, firstly in the carnage that is Vietnam, where she serves as a medical specialist, and later when a knife-wielding killer runs amok at her base in Ft Sheridan, Illinois.
But first and foremost, High Heels is the story of Bobbie’s adventures on the road as a lady trucker. After raising five kids, and at the age of forty-two, she decides to become a truck driver, finding true freedom through guiding eighteen-wheelers the length and breadth of America. She may have been doing a man’s job, but she was determined to hold on to her femininity. Thus the locker in the driver’s cabin always contained a pair of red stilettos, just in case there was an opportunity to go dancing.
Bobbie tells of the fascinating characters she meets with a feisty humor that even rape on the road fails to quash. In a kaleidoscope of escapades, we meet Craw Daddy the cagey Cajun, Dollar Bill, Mud Flap, Lot Lizards and even the Man Who Never Was.
Then, eight years after she begins trucking, a seemingly innocuous back injury leads to an operation that leaves Bobbie with an incurable spinal disease, adhesive arachnoiditis. Wheelchair-bound and in desperate pain, her weight balloons and her thoughts turn to suicide. Battling the dark feelings, she joins a self-help group on the Internet, where she meets the British fellow sufferer who later becomes the co-author of her life story. Roger Radford is a former Associated Press correspondent in the Middle East and the author of three published thrillers. Through more than a year of mutual pain and suffering (sitting is torture), the two work together over the ether to tell Bobbie’s story. ‘At times it was like pulling teeth,’ says Radford. ‘The traumas of her childhood and teen years had left such an indelible mark that just their memory caused her to withdraw into her shell for days on end.’
With the publication of her autobiography, Bobbie Cecchini has finally cracked that shell. A stomach-stapling operation and the success of a four-year fight with Workman’s Compensation have given her new hope for the future. She may never be able to drive a truck again, but she still keeps those red high heels just in case.
High Heels and 18 Wheels is a tale of triumph over hardship – from the seedy bars of Philly to the highways and byways of America.
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