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Elleen Gets Back Up in an 18-Wheeler

Elleen C., 94, was born and raised in Colorado and still calls it home. Elleen’s Wish of a Lifetime was to get back up in an 18-wheeler. She had not been up in the cab of a semi in over 40 years.

Elleen got married at a young age to her high school sweetheart who was in the Navy. After being deployed, Elleen found out that she was pregnant and her husband quickly put in his request to come home; he never returned.

After waiting three years for his submarine to return, the military considered it a complete loss. Elleen was devastated but eventually remarried to a truck driver named Bill. Together they had one son, Bill adopted Elleen’s first child as his own and they lived a very happy life together.

The year that Elleen’s youngest son left for college, Bill received a new contract between Denver and San Diego. Elleen was afraid of being left alone after being left by her first husband; so, just before her 51st birthday, she got her license and jumped in the 18-wheeler with him and they headed west. They spent the last half of 1972 and first half of 1973 on the road together making the long trip from Denver to San Diego a number of times.

Elleen loved the time that she got to spend with her husband and is so grateful for all the memories. They were able to learn a lot about each other even after being married for so many years. It was a year that she will never forget.

Elleen’s Wish to ride in a 18-wheeler become a reality on July 17th, 2 months after her 94th birthday with the help of Brookdale Senior Living and Safeway. Ellen was joined by her son Larry and friends and staff from the Village At Lowry a Brookdale community and Wish of a Lifetime staff as she gets back up into an 18-wheeler after 43 years. As serendipity would have it, she rode in a Safeway truck, the same company her father worked at as a butcher in the 1920’s. “I never thought such a little wish would mean so much to so many people. It was so wonderful.”


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