Starting this week, for the first time in my life, I will be without something that I never thought I could live without. My wife and I will be cutting the cord and getting rid of our home phone. Maybe at some point when I was very young, we didn’t have a phone, but as far back as I can remember it’s always been there. I can still remember the phone number I had growing up, even though no one in my family has used it in over twenty five years!
Thinking back, it’s like a trip down memory lane, a trip back to a much simpler time. In the old days, there were no cell phones, so you had to have a home phone. Oh, by the way, there was only one Phone Company back then, so you got what they offered and you paid what they told you. There weren’t any cool, sleek phones, just a few different colors. It hung on the wall and you had to dial the numbers on a rotary dial. Remember how long it took to do a 9 or a 0?
There was also no call waiting, so if you called someone and they were on the phone, you got a busy signal. I can tell you it was totally annoying when my friend, Bruce, would ask me to eat dinner at his house and when I tried to call my Mom, the phone was busy – forever! Okay, in all fairness, it was probably only 10 – 15 minutes, but it felt like forever when the food was almost ready and his Mom had already set a place for me at the table.
Which reminds me; we had a 15-minute limit on phone calls. With six of us living at home and everybody wanting to use the phone (except Dad, he really wasn’t much of a phone talker), there had to be some kind of rules. So my parents instituted an unofficial 15-minute time limit. I say unofficial because if no one else wanted to use the phone or no one was expecting a call, you could stay on longer. However, most nights the phone was in use from 7:00 to 10:00. I think we even had another rule that there were no phone calls after 10:00.
The cool thing about our old, on-the-wall phone was that the cord was extra long, so we could go out into the garage and talk in privacy. It really was not fun to be talking to a girl and have my older brothers making kissing noises or repeating what I said in a mocking tone. When my time was up, I’d get the “Say goodnight to Snooky Wookums” thing, or something similarly embarrassing, and they’d wait right there in front of me until I hung up. It’s probably those times (or because I’m like my Dad in some ways) that I really don’t like to talk on the phone today!
Another great memory I have is Mom sitting there doodling away while she was talking on the phone. She’d get on the phone, take a piece of paper or something from the mail, grab a pen, and start drawing. A little while later, she’d have the whole thing filled with designs and patterns. I thought, and still think, that her doodles were pretty cool. It appears she did get some of her mother’s artistic ability after all.
Saying goodbye is usually not easy, and this does feel kind of strange. However, the only calls we get on the home phone these days are telemarketers. Pretty much everybody else calls our cell phone or texts us. So even though there hasn’t been a cord for many years, we’re cutting the metaphorical cord and doing away with the home phone. Goodbye, and thanks for the memories.