and Terri Craib are mother-and-daughter San Franciscans with much to
celebrate. Betty, a native and a graduate of Commerce High, worked as a
machinist during World War II. Betty was the last woman laid off at General
Engineering and Dry Dock after the war. So what was a plucky 22 year old
working mom to do in 1945? Betty became the City's very first woman truck
driver! As she made her way across 50 miles of the City per day driving
for Railway Express, the beautiful lady truck driver was a charming curiosity
on the streets of San Francisco. One newspaper wrote a feature titled,
"Pert Blonde Drives Truck," that celebrated Betty after 14 years of service.
Herb Caen called her "whistle-bait." A multiple National Safety Award winner,
Betty advised San Francisco drivers to "Think of what you're doing then
do it. Indecision causes half the accidents." After more than 20 years,
Betty left the truck but not the road. She became a traffic control officer.
Yes, a meter maid! To this she brought the same zest for life and enthusiasm
she'd felt in her earlier career. She said someone once told her to take
her ticket and stick it... well, where the sun doesn't shine. Betty told
the driver she couldn't - there were already three there. "If I could use
a sense of humor when I tagged someone, they actually wouldn't mind getting
tagged." She retired, a second time, after 20 years of service and wears
her service medallion proudly. When Betty wasn't busy among the ranks of
the City's much maligned parking corps, or taking care of her husband and
two children, she also found time to bowl in a league for many years and
to earn her pilot's license. Impressed yet? Daughter Terry Craib couldn't
be more proud of Betty. She loves her Mom and she loves San Francisco.
"It's just in my heart," she says, "I lived in Paris for three years and
although it's beautiful there, San Francisco has it all. The water all
around us, the beautiful bridges, and our neighborhoods. The amazing streets,
the wonderful scents of garlic, ocean, and bread in the air..." Spoken
like a second generation Ms. San Francisco.
of the City 02/11/02