There are a few everyday life things that have changed since I was a kid. Well, actually a lot of everyday life things have changed since I was a kid. But I mean material things. I thought it might be fun to reminisce a little about this. Also, it might make you stop and think a little bit about the things that we take for granted today.
I know I am really dating myself here, but when I was very young we had one phone for the entire house. That’s right. One phone. It was a rotary phone and a landline of course. (The first public use of mobile phones happened in 1973). Not only was there only one phone in the house, but it was also a party line. For those of you who don’t know what a party line was. Most of you, I imagine. It was a local telephone circuit that was shared by several customers. So when you picked up the phone to make a call, with your parents’ permission, of course, there may be someone else already using the phone. The thing to do at that time was to hang up and try to make your call later. That’s what we were taught and how we used our phones. Sometimes I think other people didn’t hang up. A source of neighborhood gossip no doubt.
In the mid 60’s we got a touch-tone phone. Also, the party line was gone. That doesn’t mean the old rotary phone was thrown out. As I have written about before, my Grandmother’s saying, “Use it up, wear it out, make it last, or do without,” definitely applied here. I’ll talk about that another time. So, we upgraded to a touch-tone phone and eventually to one with an extra-long cord so you did not have to stand in the kitchen to talk on the phone. You could actually walk all the way to the dining room to have a phone conversation. The phone rules still applied. No long-distance calls. You paid extra for them. And, you still had to have your parents’ permission to make a call.
As you can see phones have advanced a long way from when I was a kid. They really are not phones anymore but computers that can be used as a phone when needed. I wonder what Alexander Graham Bell would think? And, as far as the demise of the party line and its role in spreading neighborhood gossip goes, I feel certain that other means of hearing about and conveying the gossip were established.
“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell
You know there are many other material things that we used and took for granted when I was a kid that has long since been replaced. I’ll talk about them in some future stories of my journey. It will be fun.
Meanwhile for those that have never seen one. The rotary phone and the original ringtone.
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