Friday, February 17, 2012

Crank Phone to Cell Phone

This was the style of telephone we had at home when I was a little girl.  It speaks of antiquity, doesn't it?  Well, for me it speaks of memories that will forever make me smile and giggle.

Our phone was situated on the east kitchen wall next to the walk-in broom closet.  Perfectly poised for me to 'listen in.'  I'd take the receiver off the hook (that black thing on the left side), squeeze myself into the closet, and listen to Trigger and Skeeziks  talk about their undying love for each other.  Trigger was the neighbor boy a few years older than I was, and Skeeziks was his girlfriend.

These old wall phones had party lines, meaning that several families shared one line.  Confidentiality had not yet been discovered.  Each household had its individual ring pattern, and ours was one long ring, one short ring, and one long ring. We called 'em crank phones, because the rings were made with the little black crank on the right side of the wooden box. Whenever I would hear Trigger's ring pattern, I'd make a bee line for the kitchen, gingerly take the receiver off the hook, and retreat to the closet. The phone cord was short, but any discomfort was worth the education I got from those two silly love birds.  For me, this was better home entertainment than I could have hoped for.

Remember the phone booth?  We rarely see one anymore, but boy they sure were necessary in their day.  We called 'em 'pay phones.'  That was the old joke when we teenage girls would go out with a boy on a date. Our Catholic Mothers made sure we girls always had a dime with us so we could call from a pay phone if our date fizzled.

How ever would we function in 2012 without cell and smart phones?  While they are surely the cat's pants, I worry that they are adversely affecting our roadway safety.  Too many of us are driving and talking at the same time.  When I was still commuting to and from work, I remember calling my Mother on the way home.  I'd pull in my driveway and have absolutely no recollection of my drive home.  Not good.

Last year we discontinued our land line here at home and now each carry a cell phone.  We were wary of making the step, but we're so glad we did.  My generation needs to at least grab hold of the kite tail of technology to stay above ground.  The crystal ball indicates upcoming changes that will yank our eye balls out of their sockets.

My bonnet goes off to Mr. Bell, the inventor who started all this back in 1876 when he spoke, through a device, to his assistant in the next room the famous first words, "Mr. Watson -- come here -- I want to see you."