It’s my phone

It’s my phone and I’ll answer if I want to. And only if I want to.

Way back in the old days…


Growing up, we had one phone. It was in the hallway downstairs, next to the bathroom. I can even tell you the number, South 5-3463. I don’t remember spending much time on that phone. And yup, it was a party line. And we rushed to answer, whenever it rang.

When we moved to England, we had no phone at first. After a year or so, we did get a phone, one of 3 or 4 in our very small neighborhood of American military homes in an English village.  My mother’s mother died shortly after we moved to England. Mom was notified with a telegram. Once we had our phone, others on the street would come over to use it, but only if the call was very, very important. And of course, we rushed to answer, whenever it rang.

After living in England, we moved to Montgomery, Alabama. An aunt, who worked for the phone company in Boston, told mom to tell the phone company in Alabama that we’d had a color phone in a previous home. If you’d paid for color once, you didn’t have to pay again. Mom got a turquoise one and was happy. (For the next several years, each time we moved, Aunt Jean was always our first call at each new home. Loved it when she called.) By then, my sister and I were teenagers and yes, we still beat the hell out of each other, trying to answer the phone.

Years went by. Telephones were still answered as quickly as possible.

Off to college – and the only phones were two on my dorm floor, payphones. (Hmmm, might have just been one payphone…) A floor full of 18 year old girls meant those phones were always answered quickly. By my sophomore year, we did have phones in our rooms. And of course, they were always answered.

After college, I shared an apartment with friends. We had one phone. Yes, we answered it.

Marriage – then a house. We had two phones! One in the kitchen and one in our bedroom. I was so excited when I bought a 12 foot cord for the wall phone in the kitchen. I could actually do something while talking on the phone. Children were born and the phone was a lifeline to friends and other new moms.

Call waiting was a great invention. We had it, our neighbor didn’t. So when her husband couldn’t get through to his wife, he’d call our house and I’d send a kid across the street to tell her to get off her phone so he could call home. (Most of the time, she was on the phone with me… Hi Gab!)

I remember the first cordless phone I saw. I was in a Radio Shack and the guy was walking around with the huge phone with the long antenna – I thought it was toy.

Later of course, we had an answering machine and when the boys were teens, we added a second line. The second line was mostly for the new internet and our dial-up account with Prodigy (you got 5 hours a month – yup, the old days) and then AOL. We had a cell phone also – one of those bag ones where the receiver had a curly cord to the bag… We always took it to the basement family room with us when the tornado warnings started blaring in Kansas City.

After almost 14 years (OMG, really 14 years?) living here in New Hampshire, we had our landline disconnected last week. When we first moved here, cell phone reception was spotty at best. It’s better now. But, we still want some sort of phone in the house, so we’ve joined up with our cable company. They made it painless and easy. A rep also said that Fairpoint (our regular phone company) is their best advertising.

Favorite thing on the new phone – Do Not Disturb. I hit * and two numbers, and the phone will not ring. It goes right to voice mail. It’s awesome.

We get so many, many political calls here in NH. It’s annoying. We get calls from our colleges, we get all the charity calls, they’re all annoying. So now, I will do the *## thing when we don’t want to even hear the phone.

It’s going to be lovely.

It’s my phone and sometimes, I don’t want to answer it.

PS – never owned a Princess Phone…, but we have a parishioner at church who was a model for their print ads.

PPS – no renovation pictures! Aren’t you pleased?!

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8 Responses to It’s my phone

  1. Mary says:

    Great story! My mother spent a fortune renting the big black dial phone on her desk – for many years. Memories!

  2. Our number was 3-6694. We had a party line where you could hear 4 other people’s phones ringing. Our ring was one short, two long. Of course, you could then listen to their conversations too. Very interesting when Kenny got engaged to the student nurse.
    Oh how I yearned for a pastel princess phone. But I got over it.
    Makes me sort of pine for the simpler days….

  3. Biff says:

    You didn’t mention changing from real bells in the phone to electronic ringers. I have an old phone with bells that I use in temporary situations. It is amazing and jarring to hear the mechanical ringing of the bells.

  4. Maret says:

    Ours was HO 54506. As a teenager I spent hours and hours talking on the phone. Now not so much. Biff can answer the phone; its for him anyway!

  5. Rob says:

    We still have our black rotary. We used it till about 10 years ago (can’t kill those things). I remember when a friend of Katie’s was staying with us for a soccer tournament (her mother runs the local cricket club and was away for a weekend match). The friend asked if she could call her mom. We directed her to the rotary phone in Kim’s office. About 5 minutes later, she came back out and was embarrassed to ask how to punch the buttons on our phone!

  6. James D. Barr says:

    Good story–you really should write more. Might even be able to sell something.

  7. Wanda says:

    I believe both phones on the second floor of Russell Dorm were pay phones.
    My home # was EX7-8618. We now have caller I.D. which is wonderful! When I see any
    fundraising call, political message or advertisements, I just don’t answer. I confess that if
    it shows some long-winded person that I don’t have time to talk with, I don’t answer but I do always call back later.
    My mother did have a Princess Phone at one time. It was so light-weight that every time she
    wandered too far, it fell on the floor & disconnected. Thank the Lord for cordless phones!
    I missed pictures in today’s blog!

  8. kaydennison says:

    Your renovation is marvelous!!! And yeah, I refuse to be a slave to my phones, too!

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