Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Phones Used to Just Be Phones

When my parents moved many years ago to be closer to us my Daddy cut the cord to his old rotary phone and brought it with him. I found it packed away in an old chest after they passed away. And I still have that old black phone.

In my childhood home it had a special niche in between the studs in the hallway, framed nicely in fancy molding with a place underneath for the phone book. When I was little, our phone "number" was STATE with a few numbers after it. Sometime during my teens it changed to being all numbers, but it was still dialed - finger stuck in the appropriate hole and pulled clockwise all the way around to the metal stop at the end.

I don't remember us ever having a party line, but I knew people who did. They each had a special ring, so they knew when the call was for them. But it was easy enough to pick up the phone and listen in or join in with the conversation of another party line member. Some had 2 party and others 4 party lines.

I have a vague memory of my grandmother using a phone in Chicago without dialing - she picked it up and told the operator the number she wanted to reach. She was blind in later years, so it may be that it was a regular rotary phone that she could not use easily.

Way back then phones were just phones. They didn't DO anything else. My, how things have changed. I remember distinctly the first time I ever saw a portable phone. We were in Radio Shack, and this man was at the counter purchasing a phone he could carry around with him!! We were amazed! As I recall it was a little smaller than a loaf of bread and came in a carrying bag with a shoulder strap. And I think it sold for around a thousand dollars!

Now phones are like cyborg extensions of many people's bodies - either with a Bluetooth ear piece or grasped tightly in their hand all day long. And they're not just phones any more, either. With cameras and internet connections it seems they can do anything the heart desires.

They carry people's lives - photos, credit cards, games, music, movies, work product, heart monitor, you name it - you can have it - there's an app for that.

My hubby and I are luddites when it comes to cell phones. He has a flip, because he kept butt dialing me. I have a touch screen one, but I barely know how to text on it. I'm really good with computers, but phones? not hardly. And I'd just soon keep it that way.

I guess my age is showing LOL.

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