Monday, February 23, 2009

Gather Round, Young Uns

Grammy has a story about the olden days. And by Grammy, I mean me - a person born before MTV was.

Grammy grew up in a time where phones had DIALS. For those of you reading this on your Iphone, this is what I'm talking about. This is the origin of the mysterious phrase "Dial the phone." (oooh, ahhh - I see the faces lighting up at this revelation. You're welcome.)

This is a picture of the phone Grammy grew up with. She had to put her little fingers in those holes, and spin the dial, like on Wheel of Fortune, then wait, while the little ball bearing laden thingy slowly spun the dial back to the starting position so that you could dial the next number. YES I AM SERIOUS. This is where the phrase "speed dial" comes from. Anything under 45 seconds per number (God help you people with zeros in your number - you probably lost a lot of friends) would have been considered LIGHTNING SPEED.

Now there was one feature of these phones that Grammy would like to call to your attention.

THEY #)($*^)#*&^(ING WORKED!!!

When you did finish dialing the number, and you heard that purring sound that ringing used to make and your buddy answered, YOU COULD HEAR WHAT THEY WERE SAYING! It wasn't like the Aaron Neville style experience we have now, where maybe you get every third syllable, but because of the stupid satellite delay, by the time you HEAR Aaron Neville, you're already talking at the same time. Then you both say "What?" in sync four times, and then "No, you go ahead" in sync 4 times, at which point you would rather be in front of the person just so that you would have something to punch.

My dad is right - phone service is deteriorating at exactly the same rate that phone technology is proliferating. Exponentiallly.

Now - here's the kicker. You know that Grammy has a hate hate relationship with the faceless phone monopoly, right? Well do you want to know what they did? In Grammy's day, that gorgeous black hunk of ball bearing laced wires that was heavy enough to kill a feral hog with that was plugged into our wall in our house BELONGED TO THE FACELESS MONOPOLY.

That's right. All equipment belonged to "the company." And when "the company" split up, on a tearful day many decades ago, "the men" came to our homes and they took those hog killers.

That's right. I am not making this up. They took our phones. That's when all this started. I'm pretty sure that's what Don McLean wrote American Pie about. The day the music died was the day they took our phones.

And if I had had the foresight to know I would never ever have anything that good again. I would have hidden that thing with all the passion and resourcefulness of Winston and Julia in 1984, believe me. My mom would have been screaming - "RUN, CHILD, RUN - DON'T STOP - WE'LL FIND YOU - JUST DON'T LOSE THE PHONE." I would have eaten tree bark for months. If only I'd known.

I don't think I'm alone in pining for those days of crystal clear sound, heavy handsets, black ball bearing-y goodness. Why do I think that?

Look closely little ones.That's no Iphone, ladies. That is a REAL PHONE. It's in the stamp set Classy & Fabulous. From the new catalog.

And I'd let you see the rest of the card, except - it's for my club. Have you joined? You can do so in my sidebar. But back to the subject at hand.

This is a signal. We are lighting the torches. We are kicking it off. We are getting our PHONES back!!!

Viva La Revolucion!!!!


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14 comments:

  1. You are too damn funny!!! I can't wait for club so I can see the whole card. until then 1 ringy dingy, 2 ringy dingy, 3 ringy...

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  2. Mmmnph! Aaron! Ha-ha-LUV HIM! I didn't realize the experience we were getting was A.N. with the phones now-a-days.

    I'll never listen to a cell phone the same way again.

    Yellow Moon, yellow moon ,yellow moon!

    "oweengo" Oh, wingo way, Oh, wingo way, Oh wingo way, in the jungle- the mighty jungle- the lion sleeps tonight- in the jungle.........

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  3. Too terribly funny! You know, you have a fellow Grammy friend in Shady Hollow (who shall remain nameless) that has an avocado green feral hog killing phone in her very possession right this minute. I kid you not!

    Next story will have to be to tell the children about the days when WE were the TV remote control. I can still hear my daddy saying, "Honey, go turn it to channel 13. OK, now back to 5." And woe be to me if the antennae needed holding while we rigged some Star Trekian aluminum foil bridge so we could see Monday night football.

    Those were the salad days!

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  4. You are just too funny! Ours was on the wall and you could be sure the others on the party line were listening in.

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  5. Ha!!! I too grew up with those dialing dinosaurs! Don't forget the princess version that hung on the wall (in yellow, green or orange)...with the 12 foot cord so you could cook hamburger helper in the kitchen while you chatted. We Also had a party line. If the phone had a double ring, it was for them. Single ring..call was for us...
    Gotta go listen to my 8 track tapes now......

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  6. I, too, grew up with those black phones, and yes, they were really heavy. Up until I got DSL I had a "real" phone. Real in that it RANG like the old ones did; I could not (can still cannot) deal with the electronically-sounding ring of today's electronic devices.

    I had to replace (I still own it) my "real" phone when I put the DSL filter on my wall phone socket. It was a very sad day. If I ever switch to a different provider (like cable), I plan to put that phone back on the wall!

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  7. Oh great, it's not bad enough that I'm addicted to the lolcats and loldogs, now I will loose whats left of mind playing with that spiroll thingy. Thanks alot. Just kidding, it really is cool! As for that phone---I would love to have those back---if you pulled the cord from the phone to the receiver hard enough you could get it to stretch to any room on the same floor and had to put it back so you never had to look for the stinking thing! What have those silly cats been up to lately? Love your cards and blogging!

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  8. Way too funny!!! Grew up with these lovely gems too!! I have to add one vital piece of that phone service-- party lines!!! Yes, some people actaully shared a phone line with other homes... talk about big brother watching you... your whole negihborhood could listen in on your conversation!!! And kids it wasn't that long ago!!!

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  9. Too funny! And yes not only do I remember those phones, we had a spiffy Avacado green one and the priness stlye one in aqua.

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  10. I still have one of those big black phones.... with a METAL BELL in it and everything! It's in a box in a closet here somewhere, but I do have it!

    And here's something even older than that.... When I was being taught our phone numbers as a child, my grandfather confused the heck out of me by telling me our number was "KEllog 5-1579". Yeah. Look on the "dial"... KE=53..... No wonder I'm so good at texting on the numeric keypad!

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  11. Oh Lydia, you funny girl, you must be...about MY AGE! I grew up with the same phones! Great post!

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  12. Oh, gosh are we all dating ourselves or what? I remember as a kid having to memorize my phone number using Division 2-2742 or Flagstone 3-3735 because the lead in was a word (and then we had to convert the word to numbers). And it was a childhood playtime thing to pick up that big heavy black receiver and s-l-o-w-l-y pop the button up to try to catch someone on the phone and evesdrop. It was the best playtime. And then my mom, who was "an operator" could tell all the stories about plugging those little rubber tube thingies into the big "switchboard" in order to connect us all to those party lines. We've come a long way baby!! (In just our lifetime -- scarry!) Sandy

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  13. thanks for the walk down memory lane...I remember the day too! I also remember you only had to dial a letter and 4 digits too, and party lines, and....well...I am showing my age too now! I hate cell phones....hate that they intrude on life, hate that I have to hear others conversations, etc. Just my 2 cents....Nice cards too! Cindy

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  14. My dad worked for the phone company back in those days when the wonderful government decided that the phone couldn't be that big of a company so they had to step in and "fix" everything. Yet another reason to dislike big government. Ahhh the days of being hard wired instead of wireless ... it definitely had some advantages!

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