By Kerry Evans-Spillman, Land Line staff
We frequently hear that trucking gets in the blood and because most trucking companies are small-businesses, it makes sense that it often becomes a family affair. For the Goldsteins of Los Angeles, CA, trucking goes three generations deep.
It started with Sidney Goldstein and a 1926 Maxidyne truck. He hauled general freight from Southern California to Northern California back when the grapevine was a grapevine, just one lane northbound and one lane southbound. He took his son, Jack Goldstein, for a ride one day and that was that.
When Jack turned 16, he started trucking on his own, hauling general freight like his dad. He took a break from trucking at age 27 to join the Army. He needed a change and spent some time stationed in Vietnam working in the field of communications. The trucking bug is hard to shake, though. Six years later, Jack was out of the Army and back behind the wheel.
During his time in the service, Jack met his wife, Dana, while he was stationed in Germany. And it is truly a small world; both of them were originally from Los Angeles. They’re celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this year.
Jack transitioned from company driver to owner-operator 30 years ago and the first truck didn’t last too long. The economy was rough, and he had a hard time making payments. But he stuck with trucking until retiring for medical reasons shortly after 9/11.
Jack and Dana have a son, Michael Goldstein. In case you haven’t guessed it, Michael is a trucker. He was a little kid when Jack took him for his first ride but after that Jack said, “I couldn’t get him out of the truck.”
Inspired by mom (who was also in the Army) and dad, Michael wanted to join the Army as soon as he was finished with high school. Due to his age, he needed his parents to sign for him to enlist. He wanted to get into trucking while in the service, but Jack and Dana said no. They knew it was a difficult business and wanted Michael to do something in the Army that would translate into a non-trucking job in the civilian world. Michael opted for heavy vehicle mechanics, and his parents gave him permission to enlist.
Michael has always loved to drive – from his personal vehicle to big rigs. By the time he was 22, he was out of the Army and had his CDL. When it came to trucking, he said, “I never saw myself doing anything else.”
These days, Michael is driving a tanker and runs in California exclusively, hauling fuel. Even though his dad thinks Michael would make a great writer, both his parents are supportive of his chosen career. Jack and Michael, both OOIDA life members, enjoy attending truck shows together, which is one way Michael likes to stay current on happenings in the business.
CARB regulations in California have made things tricky for Michael. Slow times and a turbulent industry have him grabbing a gear and changing lanes. He’s selling his truck and getting out of the fuel-hauling gig. “I don’t know just yet if I’m going to pull a reefer or what,” he said. “But it will be something in trucking. It’s all I know.” LL