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Posts tagged ‘cb radios’

Break 1-9

I think you have to be over 40 to even guess what that title means.  It was from the 1970s when CB (Citizen Band) radios were the hot trend.  Truckers still use them to communicate with one another.  So, sit back and get ready for a little history lesson, or a time to reminisce.

We had a CB radio in our station wagon.  We originally bought it because we were going on a camping trip with my aunts and uncles and we were all driving our campers to Gatlinburg, TN, I think.  This was a way to keep in touch.  (Think of it as a conference call on your cell phone, kiddies.)

To use the CB radio, you were supposed to have a “handle” which was basically a nickname.  I still remember most of our nicknames:  Early Riser, Double Bogey, Fly Rod, Patchwork, and Rhubarb.  (Those belonged to my aunts, uncles, and cousin.)  Then there was my family:  Grey Spot (my dad, who actually had jet black hair and a grey spot on the side of his head about the size of a half-dollar), Migraine (my mom.  You can figure out why.), Curious George (my brother still loves that little monkey), and me–Flapper.  Okay, I talked a lot.  And my fifth grade teacher called me “Flapper.”  I was the only one who didn’t get to choose her own handle.  My family said that it just had to be “Flapper” because someone had actually given me the name, and it was so funny.  ha.  ha.  I know.  I know.  Bitterman, party of one?  Let it go, Michelle.

We had such a good time on those trips.  We talked back and forth the whole way.  I think we even played a game like Trivial Pursuit together.

You had to say, “Break 1-9” to start your conversation.  So, if 19 was your channel, then you said “Break 1-9.”  If your channel was 14, then you said, “Break 1-4.” However, channel 9 was reserved for emergencies.  When my uncle was a postal carrier, he and my aunt would communicate using the CB.  (I think their channel was 14.)  She had one at home and he had one in his mail car.  It was a really clever idea, I think.  Again, just a precursor to cell phones, if you think about it.

Some of you may have heard the song “Convoy.”  It is filled with handle names and codes.  In fact, “Convoy” means a group of 3 or more cars/trucks travelling together.  “What’s your 10-20?” means “Where are you?”, “10-4” means “okay,” and my brother’s and my favorite was “I need a 10-100.”  (“I have to go to the bathroom.”  I can’t imagine why a 7-year-old and an 11-year-old thought that was funny.)  A “bear” was a police car, a “chicken coop” was a weigh station, and a ” pregnant roller skate” was a Volkswagen Beetle.  When our families went on vacation we called ourselves “The Cock-eyed Convoy.”  The movie “Smokey and the Bandit” with Burt Reynolds, was called that because a “Smokey” was a cop.  The nickname was given because Smokey the Bear wore a hat similar to the hat worn by state troopers.  (And, by the way, the CB radio played a significant role in the movie.)

Why bring this up now?  Well, I saw an ad on line for cbuilder.com (career builder), and the two letters together made me remember all these things that had been tucked away in my brain.  It’s funny what triggers such great memories.

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