Wow, I'm writing my 36th editorial, which means I've been editing Custom Classic Trucks since June of 2006. There sure has been a lot of change in the world since then, but I don't think I want to talk about any of it right now. Let's take a quick trip back to 1969 when I was just about ready to graduate from high school. Through the ranks I was scheduled to get my diploma in 1970, but in the spring of '69, I heard if I had enough credits I could graduate a year early, and get the hell out of Dodge. I went up to the Principal's office and had a little chat with my counselor, and asked her how many credits I needed to graduate. It was my lucky day, through no forethought on my part whatsoever all I needed was 10 credits, and I could kiss West Covina High good-bye forever. It meant I had to spend the summer of '69 in summer school, but I figured it would be worth it. My decision to take Algebra was a big mistake, and I knew it at the time. My instincts told me to take a pottery class with the rest of the retards like me and just hang loose. Ultimately I flunked Algebra, which meant I'd have to stick around until mid-term '70 and then graduate with a surplus of credits. I think it was February of '70 when they set me free.
I really didn't have a game plan going so I trucked it up to Mt. San Antonio College and registered for some art classes. For the official record, I was an art major with a minor in political science. I've always liked to mention that poli sci minor part because it just sounds better than telling people I hung around the art department, took life drawing classes, and depicted nude girls. Looking back I find it amazing how the things I did to work my way through college turned out to be a lifelong career. I supported myself while going to school by custom painting motorcycles, and working on classmate's cars. With all the attention the customizing arts have been getting on TV in recent years I imagine a youngster reading this might think it must of have been real cool being a custom painter, and going to art school back in those days. I wish it were true, but unfortunately, or at least where I was going to college that's not how it was. The instructors I had didn't consider custom painting an art in any way, shape, or form. Those guys are all probably dead now, so tracking them down, and telling them the most successful art exhibit ever held at the Laguna Art museum in Laguna Beach, California, was the Kustom Kulture show. Of course, on the other hand Kustom Kulture opened in 1993, so maybe some of them did live to see it. Maybe they were thinking, "Gee, you know that crazy kid who used to park his Harley-Davidson in the classroom and then split with the life drawing models before class was over, was right." I kind of doubt it, but anything is possible.
What I do know is this has been an amazing journey and I'm really grateful to all the people who have made it possible for me to sit in front of a technology I never thought I'd master and express myself. First I would like to thank all of you folks for reading Custom Classic Trucks, and supporting our advertisers who also make it possible to publish this magazine. Next, I have to wrap an apology up with a heartfelt thanks to my immediate bosses for hiring me. I haven't changed my ways much in the last 40 years, so I'm sure my superiors have to dodge flak on a regular basis for me because the corporate people aren't quite as understanding of the creative process. You know, I can't help but wonder if I've caused our company to revise its job applications to include an inquiry to whether one has ever shown signs of mental illness, resisted authority, or made a living as a custom painter.John Gilbert