Features - Features

Old timer Dick Lower remembers the long, silent days of trucking. "In the 40s, 50s and 60s a truck driver lived a very lonely life and so it was with his family who he was trying to provide for," said Lower. "When it was necessary we used the telephone, however, it was far too expensive to be calling home very often."

"Normally our wives knew where about we were at and, if they had to get a hold of us, they called dispatch and dispatch would in turn tell us to call home," said Lower. His runs usually lasted a week and the family would know when to expect him home. "It was a crummy deal though," he said, "because they would bring you home and have you back on the road in 12 hours no matter what day of the week."

When the CB radio surfaced in the late 60s, it helped drivers connect to one another, but still not with their families. Lower often sent post cards home to his children and wife so they could see where he had been. It was something to help stay in touch between the once-a-week phone calls.

"Nowadays it is nothing to stay connected with the use of cell phones and computers," said Lower. "It is a luxury we didn't have."

From the pay phones and letters of the early days to today's cell phones, emails and text messages, one thing has stayed the same: the need for families to connect, to stay in touch and to keep communication open. Even though the highways lead drivers many miles away and in many different directions, their hearts remain turned toward home. Fortunately, with today's technology, staying in touch is easier than ever before.

Five Ways to Stay Connected

  1. Make a recording of your voice. This could be for your spouse or children with a special message or a simple hello. For small children you could read a bedtime story that they could listen to and follow along in the book.
  2. Send photos. Use a cell phone or digital camera to send photos of interesting things you saw or even the truck stop you're stopped at. Even the ordinary to you will be interesting to your family.
  3. Email or text short messages. They don't have to be long letters, just a couple of lines will do. Tell them what you ate for dinner or what the sunset looked like over the city.
  4. Talk on the phone. There are many family plans offered through cell phone companies that are affordable and offer unlimited minutes.
  5. Send a package. For special occasions that you have to miss, send a gift or flowers. Or send a package just for fun with things you picked up on the road.

For more information on keeping long-distance relationships strong, visit these websites by The National Long Distance Relationship Building Institute: