Monday, June 27, 2011

Once Upon A Time

In the late 1970's there was a time my husband and I call, "the CB Age."  It was a prehistoric communication system created, I believe, by big riggers.  (aka semi drivers or 18 wheeler truckers.)  There were two way radios, somewhat like walkie talkies, except they were installed in
trucks so that drivers could contact the company they worked for, or warn other truckers of all manner dangers on the road. They might also use the CB to contact their family, if they had a set at home. It was more convenient to use than finding a pay phone and less expensive too. It was a pretty useful tool. (More on that subject in another entry on another day.)

I'm not sure how the fad of CB radio using came into being for the 'every day man', but it was, for a time, quite a popular pastime for many in our little town. Some of us had a home station and a vehicle unit, some had one or the other. There were conversations going on all day and half the night, and since it was possible for everyone to hear everyone else, I likened it to an old-fashioned 'party line' like homes used to have. 

 It was kind of a precursor to today's 'social network'. We made 'friends' on the air waves, as well as talked to real friends and family. There were some rough characters on the air now and then, but mostly people obeyed the laws of the FCC.  We quickly learned who we wanted to chat with, and who we didn't.

There was a special language 'adopted' when you picked up that mike to speak. You'd identify yourself by call letters, and then identify the person you wanted to talk to. Everyone had a 'handle',  the equivalent of today's 'screen name'. You named yourself with your own choice of handles, making it up from who-knows-what hobby or for some reason-or-other.  My husband, owner of a tree care company, was called the "Tree Mender". Another who was a lay-preacher called himself  "the Parson."  There was a bleached blond who called  herself  "Blondie", a singer who called herself "Nightengale".  As for me, I was " The Old Lady in The Shoe".

Ok...when you finish laughing, I'll tell you how I got that name.  Are you ready yet?  Ok...just one more guffaw....then stop!  Ready or's the story.  One afternoon I stopped for gas at a local gas station. Those were the days when some teenaged boy or an older man would pump your gas for you. On that afternoon, my big old station wagon was packed with my four youngsters, as well as my friend with her two children. I got out of the car to ask the man to check the air in the tires when he was finished pumping the gas.  I guess he took note of the number of little heads in the car and that I had a round, basketball belly with Baby #5 riding safely inside.  He tipped his hat back and grinned and said, "You don't, perchance, live in a shoe, do you?"  And that's how the name was created. Nothing romantic or creative, but very appropriate considering our full house!

There is one of those old cronies who still refers to me using that handle, even though my babies are grown with babes of their own. Every once in awhile when I think about it, I wish we'd been able to buy a shoe-shaped home in Pennsylvania which had  been built the year after I was born, as an advertising gimmick by a shoe salesman. That might have been fun....but I think we'd have had to build another, to make a pair, in order to accommodate our brood!  Can't you just see it now?


  1. Kathleen! You got me laughing on that "handle"! growing up we had base stations (home) and mobile stations( cars) and we did have a lot of fun...One year on our drive to Florida for Winter then 3 young children..sang "Grandma got run over by a reindeer" to any semi-driver who would listen..Most wanted to be home so bad with there families ... My kids kept them entertained..Good Memories!!!
    Butterfly Out!!!

  2. My Dad was the one who got into the CB thing in the 70s when I was in my early 20s. I can't remember what his handle was now. He had one in his car and one at home. He'd come to visit or come home from work and still be sitting in the car an hour later gabbing on the CB radio--LOL! He'd stay up at night talking till 1-2am! My mom got so annoyed with him sometimes. Their CB group met and had dinners and dances and such, too. It was a big deal back then, I remember. It was nice to find out how traffic and weather were when you were on a trip and where the detours were, etc. My dad never allowed the radio on, though, after he got that CB in the car. LOL!

    You're right--in a way, kind of a precursor to the internet and the cell phones and such that we have now. I forgot all about CBs. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. ;)