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COMMUNITY PORTRAIT: Dawley ‘luvs’ her truck, Dalmatians, banana bread and Auburn

By: Michael Kirby, Freelance Photographer
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Sally Palmer Dawley wasn’t raised in Auburn but since she moved here in 1992 she has lovingly called Auburn home. 
 
Perhaps you might recognize her name. Dawley is a very frequent contributor to the Auburn Journal letters to the editor section of the paper. 
Dawley is outspoken on subjects that she considers important to our community. She first started writing letters to the editor in 1999 and has since penned more than 80 letters so far on many different subjects. 
 
“It was three different incidents within just a few days of each other, one was people dumping their ashtray full of cigarettes on the ground,” said Dawley. “It just irritated me, that was my first letter.” Dawley has a scrapbook collection of every letter she has penned, and letters from other writers that have inspired her. Some years she’s written a dozen or so, and other years it’s only two or three.
 
Dawley was raised in Carmichael, but also lived in Loomis, South Lake Tahoe and Southern California. Her first experience with Auburn was when she was asked to ride her horse through town in the Gold Country Fair parade in 1966 when she was 16 years old. Little did she know that years later she would call our foothills town home. 
 
“I remember that the grand marshals of the parade were the actors from the television show ‘Laredo,’” she said.
 
Many people also recognize Dawley around town in her highly visible truck. It’s a gray 1986 Ford F-250 with a banged-up rear quarter-panel. The unrepaired damage is a leftover reminder of one of two wrecks in the truck. Both accidents were serious and Dawley credits her tough Ford truck and use of seat belts in saving her life. Dawley calls attention to the safety of her truck and the stupidity of some drivers with hand made signs posted on the tailgate and in the back window of her truck.
 
An arrow points to her damaged fender and letters read, “A stupid driver did this to me-RU 1-2. Another sign says Click it and Live.
 
Dawley is passionate about the safety of her truck and careless drivers because both of the accidents she was involved in were the fault of others. One happened near the Highway 49 and Dry Creek Road intersection and she is lucky to be alive. 
 
Her truck is a rolling hand-made billboard for road safety and alert driving. 
 
“I really believe in following the laws. They are there for a reason,” she said.
 
Dawley is a retired school bus driver, but still works as an independent contractor doing janitorial work at Mid-Placer Transportation where she used to work. 
 
She also works as a caregiver for several hours during the day. She is a dog lover, Dalmatians in particular, and she has a photo of her last dog’s face printed on a T-shirt. 
 
At the most recent Black and White Affaire in Downtown she attended in her very unique Dalmatian costume. She also wore the Dalmatian costume during Halloween last month. 
 
“I made the costume to wear on Halloween when I drove the school bus,” she said. “I must have had three dozen people request a photo with me at the Black and White Affaire,” Dawley said.
 
Dawley is a local history buff and collects old pictures of the area. She is also a three-year breast cancer survivor. She loves Auburn, and as an appreciative gesture routinely bakes banana bread, which she delivers to local businesses just to be friendly and talk.
 
“Auburn is fun,” Dawley said. “If I lived in a big city would I know this many people? Would I know the chief of police?” she asked.