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Traveling to Florida with very old friends

Many retired couples may bicker over the best way to travel to their winter quarters in Florida. Should we drive again? The thought of all those "South of the Border" signs through the Carolinas is a real turnoff. Everyone knows of the drawbacks to air travel, and the Auto Train, where you board at Lorton, Va., doesn't solve the problem of traffic through Washington, D.C.

So, this year we again opted to drive. As we prepare for the journey, I look forward to seeing the friends we've made in sunny Hutchinson Island on Florida's East Coast. Folks from Michigan, Maryland, Canada and Iowa come together once a year, and we catch up with all their news.

Yet, how to cope with the long drive? This year, we discovered the Radio Classics station of the Sirius Radio that my husband installed in the car. This station airs radio programs from the 1940s and '50s. Those of a certain age will thrill as the syrupy voices of the announcers draw us back to a time when we gathered around the Philco and used our imaginations to create indelible images. On the Lux Radio Theater, we heard the distinctive voices of Bob Hope and Lucille Ball in the film "Fancy Pants." How the miles flew by as we chuckled at the corny one liners.

Then came Lamont Cranston in "The Shadow" and a half-hour of "The Whistler." I was amazed at the high standards of writing and vocabulary employed by the writers of these shows. There is also a commentator who provides facts about the actors and the history of these programs.

What about comedy? Do you remember William Bendix in "The Life of Reilly"? In the episode we listened to, Reilly tries to win a car for the family by guessing the exact number of beans in a jar at a drugstore window. Jack Benny's radio show made us recall Dennis Day, Mr. Kitzel and gravelly voiced Eddie (Rochester) Anderson.

Dana Andrews starred as the FBI agent in "I Was a Communist for the FBI," and William Conrad was the voice of the sheriff in "Gunsmoke."

Before we knew it, we were in the Sunshine State. If Florida is where you will find the Fountain of Youth, listening to your old radio favorites will make you feel like a kid again.

Sara Jane Berman,

East Williston

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