Do you remember when…?
- Your entire house had just one telephone and the entire family took turns using it.
- When the phone rang, the person closest to it answered it.
- It was located on a “telephone stand” which was probably sitting against an outside wall.
- It was hard-wired to a terminal block, which meant you couldn’t just pick it up and carry it around the house. If you wanted to talk on the phone, you more or less had to stay in that one place.
- Even if you could have taken it with you, it was too large and heavy to comfortably carry around. And it would have been useless anyway since you wouldn’t have had a connection to the phone line.
- Privacy when talking on the phone was rare, and it was much appreciated when you finally had some.
- It was black. Period.
- It had a rotary dial (unless it was old enough to have a “crank”).
- It was used for a single purpose: to make a voice call.
- When dialing, you heard clicks instead of touch-tones.
- Your family used the same telephone for years (and probably for decades).
- The only “upgrade” available was paying extra for a “wall phone”.
- When you needed to make a call, you had to quietly lift the receiver to make sure the neighbors weren’t already using the line.
- When the phone rang, you could hear it clear over in the next county.
- And if you wanted to call someone who lived in the next county, you had to pay a hefty per-minute “long distance” charge.
- The only “911” available at the time was calling your nearest neighbor when you “got into a pickle”.
My, how times have changed. Nowadays…
- Half the homes in the U.S. don’t even have a “land-line”.
- The only time we use a “party line” is when we’re on a conference call.
- The typical family owns multiple phones, typically one for every adult in the family and every child who is old enough to safely and responsibly use one.
- Our phones are now small enough to easily fit into a shirt pocket.
- They come in virtually any color known to mankind.
- They work in any place where there is a usable cell signal – no cord required unless you need to charge the battery.
- They perform multiple functions such as sending and receiving text messages, checking email, surfing the Internet and playing games. And of course they still make voice calls too.
- Privacy when making a call is easy to find, yet few choose to take advantage of it.
- We change phones almost as often as we change our minds.
- We can “upgrade” our phones by adding larger memory cards or Bluetooth headsets and by buying extra minutes, extra text messages and more cellular data.
Yep, time marches on, and so does technology. Today’s youngsters have never known a time when the only phone in the house was a hulking rotary telephone that was permanently tethered to a wall with a cord. Somehow I can’t help but believe they’re missing out on something pretty special.
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