Remember Car Phones?

Remember Car Phones?

A Story by barleygirl
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true story from my early life . . .

"

Memories are always trending among old farts on Facebook. A favorite share: post a photo unique to a bygone era . . . “Do you remember this?”

Yesterday, a new twist. We’re asked to name something we all knew well, but today’s young people would not recognize. A good reply: “party lines” . . . my childhood home had an eight-party phone line in the 1970’s. It was likely we’d pick up the phone to make a call and we could hear another family talking on the one line that served all eight households. Yes, there was no doubt eavesdropping all the time! Forget about call-waiting . . . all callers got a busy signal if any phone (of ten or twenty) was lifted from the cradle!

Here’s something very few people would recognize today: a person who has never ever had or used a cell phone (that would be me!)

Thinking how phones have progressed, I was reminded of working in agriculture back in the 1980’s. As pilot plant supervisor for a couple summers, each week I took the company flatbed truck over to the central valley (near Bakersfield) to get a load of peeled garlic in bins for various processing tests. Preparing for my trip, I’d go to the storeroom to check out the one company car phone.

This monstrosity would be unrecognizable to anyone who only knows today’s slim cell phones. This barbaric communication device was housed in a solid faux-leather box a foot long and tall, a hand’s width thick. It felt about like hefting a ten-pound bag of sugar.

Opening up the box, it instantly split into pieces and things fell down onto a junk-filled floor. This was the department truck, used by everyone. It was dangerous to lean my nose down near a bench seat that many hot butts had dampened, driving across the dry sweltering hills of Coalinga on highway 198. It was nasty to finger my way through filth and vermin to find some phone gadget that had slid under the seat while I was wheeling along the curvy mountain road.

No, it was impossible to use this vehicle phone while also using the vehicle. As curly-que wires sprung forth from the black mystery box, only an engineer could figure out how to piece together adapters, cigarette-lighter-plug, ground wire, not to mention an expansive panel of clunky dials, used to adjust volume and select channels, or check frequencies and alternator suck. It would’ve been a technological wonder if anyone could’ve used this car phone while driving.

Maybe that’s why I’ve never gotten a cell phone in all these years. That early car phone experience left a foul stench in my nostrils.

© 2019 barleygirl


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Featured Review

Thank goodness for the modern age - huh? Millie and I drove to N.C, a couple of weeks ago and guess what I left behind on the kitchen table in N.J.? Well I have to tell you we both survived, but I' sure there were a few times when Millie would have liked to wring my neck. It's funny how used you re to getting having them all the time. We had to fly home for a doctors' appointment for Millie. You cab believe the first things I went for when getting in the house, besides the bathroom, was the damn cell phone.

Take care - Dave

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

Having young people around is always helpful, when trying to figure out modern technology! Where I l.. read more



Reviews

When I met my wife in 95, she had a car phone in her 92 Chrysler le baron. I thought I was dating a wealthy chick. Her dad owned a car salvage and it came with the car when they bought it wrecked. We had fun with it. Good story.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

1 Month Ago

Yes, being poor white trash myself, I always used to see "wealth" in the stupidest things! Great ane.. read more
I had one of these monsters in the 90s! Bought it from Home Shopping Network on tv. Had a cb radio and radar detector from HSN too- ha! Margie, this well-written story brought back so many road trip memories. Your exceptionally descriptive detail makes this ‘thing’ truly come back to life. Great nostalgia!

Posted 2 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

I actually screamed out loud when I got to reading the part about how you had a cb radio & radar de.. read more
How blind we were back then to the dangers of being on the phones and driving. Plus they cost a pretty penny to use as well.

My dad had one of the first mobil phones . Those things were so big and heavy.

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

I love how you picked up on this, which is something I was alluding to, but did not mention outright.. read more
Thank goodness for the modern age - huh? Millie and I drove to N.C, a couple of weeks ago and guess what I left behind on the kitchen table in N.J.? Well I have to tell you we both survived, but I' sure there were a few times when Millie would have liked to wring my neck. It's funny how used you re to getting having them all the time. We had to fly home for a doctors' appointment for Millie. You cab believe the first things I went for when getting in the house, besides the bathroom, was the damn cell phone.

Take care - Dave

Posted 3 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

2 Months Ago

Having young people around is always helpful, when trying to figure out modern technology! Where I l.. read more

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Added on July 17, 2019
Last Updated on July 17, 2019

Author

barleygirl
barleygirl

Central Coast, CA



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Just loving life & sharing my blessings. more..

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