Remember the CB radio craze back in the 70s and early 80s? This was before cell phones and the like took center stage. Bud and I each had a CB radio in our cars. His “handle” was Diamond Jim and mine was Satin Doll. We joined a CB club and made new friends with Papa Bear, Lady Red, the Poet, Mud Turtle, Shoestring, Dodge Boy, Mopar Kid, Golden Bear. Unfortunately my memory fails me as I try to remember others, but we were a good-sized group.
Aside from meetings, we got together for Saturday night dances, holiday parties and even a weekend in the Poconos. Families were a big part of this experience. We had picnics where we had board games, old and young played softball; however, the favorite was a tug-o-war between the “older guys” and the “youngsters.” Hearty laughter could be heard as one-by-one the participants fell to the ground. The “oldsters” usually won but not without fierce competition from the kids.
Most CBers were respectful, helpful and a calming influence in an emergency. If a motorist was lost, there was always someone on the air who would give directions, sending the driver on the right route. Many times we’d receive a “10-42” which meant there was an accident up ahead and we were given an alternate route to follow.
One evening we had our own personal emergency. Bud and George, Jr. were returning home from bowling in White Plains. I remember looking at the clock and thinking they were running a little late. Suddenly the phone rang. The woman calling had a “base station” (stationery location) and monitored the Taconic Parkway--she had picked up Bud’s emergency call. She advised that Bud’s car had broken down just over the Croton Dam Bridge and that I needed to pick them up. When I arrived, the State Police were there along with a good Samaritan. Picture this: eerie, quiet darkness with the only lighting from the other cars’ headlights, red and blue flashing lights trying to penetrate a light fog, the groaning of the bridge structure and the sounds of water softly lapping under the bridge. This was a perfect spooky setting for a haunted Halloween night!
This experience involved the family: We were taking a long weekend vacation with the boys and were traveling on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. One of my younger guys expressed fear that we were “boxed” in by 18-wheelers. Sure enough, one on each side, another in back of us and a truck in front. Bud signed on the CB, described our car and told of our boy’s discomfort.
“Not to worry, Dad. I’m in front of you and will be pulling over to the right so you can go through.”
As we passed, the truck driver gave us the horn—the boys had “signaled” him to do so—and a big wave. Thanks for easing a small boy’s fear!
Another trip down memory lane. This was a fun and outstanding experience for our whole family.