Blanche’s alarm clock beats ‘em all

Published 11:27 am Wednesday, May 1, 2019

As is a common saying….things ain’t what they use to be.

Sunday afternoon, after watching my driver – Chase Elliott – hold off a hard-charging field of competitors to notch his first-ever superspeedway win at Talladega, I was surfing the web when I stumbled across a story about the best devices to use as an alarm clock.

The online story came from Good Housekeeping, who ranked the top nine alarm devices. I figured since everyone on the planet – including kids who have yet to celebrate their 10th birthday – has a cell phone/tablet….aka a hand-held computer capable of doing basically everything – that device would rank #1 as an alarm clock.

I was wrong.

GH ranked the Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock as their top choice. For roughly 139 bucks, you can end your night’s rest by waking up to “lighting that mimics a sunrise!” The device boasts of five alarm sound options, or you can choose music from your favorite radio station.

Number two was even more surprising, especially in this age of electronic gadgetry. It was an old-fashioned RCA digital alarm clock. You remember those…the small rectangular box with large digital numbers and the snooze button on top. It’s cheap too….less than $10 retail.

For heavy sleepers, check out #3….the Sonic Alert Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock and Bed Shaker. This device has a digital readout, but it comes with a device that users put under their pillow that vibrates at a pre-set time.

It’s not until #4 on the list where one will find a cell phone recommended as an alarm clock.

The remaining alarm devices, in order, are an Echo Dot – “Alexa, wake me at 7 am”; another simulated sunrise gadget, the Witti Beddi Glow; the iLuv Wireless Charging Alarm Clock, which features a built-in charging pad on top; another entry by iLuv, this one a vibrating device similar to the Sonic Bomb (#3); and the iHome Bluetooth Dual Alarm FM Clock Radio.

They all sound nice and promise to perform their featured function, but none are as dependable as the device that woke me up as a child – my parents.

My dad, who was a member of General George Patton’s Third Army during World War II, tore a page from that military experience to use as an alarm clock. Since he was an early riser, dad would enter my bedroom and make believe he had a bugle while playing “Reveille.” “Up and at em; it’s time to rise and shine; this ain’t no big hotel,” I remember my dad saying. He was loud and I would bounce out of bed fairly quickly.

My mom, on the other hand, was typically soft-spoken when it was her turn to rouse the kids from their slumber. Long before I knew what the word meant, mom would stealthy creep into my bedroom and softly say, “Calvin, time to get up and get ready for school.” Being a deep sleeper, I never heard her soft whisper of a command.

Typically it took three or four attempts by my mom to rattle me out of bed….and the last effort was usually accompanied by her shaking my shoulders.

I remember – all too well, mind you – one particular morning when mom came in on the fourth attempt to wake me. I was a high school student at the time. When she reached down to gently shake my shoulders, I grabbed her and said, “get your (swear word removed) hands off me.”

Now, picture this….my mom was four-foot nothing and weighed less than 110 pounds. But don’t let that petite vision fool you as Blanche Joyner Bryant can pack a punch.

The next thing I remember after uttering those words was picking myself up off the floor. She didn’t have any trouble waking me up after that episode.

They certainly don’t make alarm clocks like that anymore, not even the Sonic Boom.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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