Ring Ring…

The other day, I heard something funny on the radio.  People were “tweeting” things they used to believe to be true.  One of the funniest came from a person who “tweeted” that he used to believe that the asterisk button on his parent’s phone was a snowflake symbol–and he believed that the “snow flake” button was Santa Claus’ number on speed dial!  He believed that his parents used the “snowflake button” to call Santa whenever he was naughty!

This hilarious revelation brought about an interesting conversation between my husband and me about telephones.  First of all,  Ed said “Our phone didn’t have an asterisk on it!”  I said, “True, so true!  In those days, phones had a rotary dial–no buttons at all!”

Ed and I can both remember a time of not having telephones at all, while we were children.  Ed says he was about six when they got their phone–and it was a very big deal!  My parents had a telephone earlier than Ed’s (I think), but later they went without a phone for several years.  I can remember depending on next-door neighbors when we needed to use a phone.

Ed asked if my parents had a phone table.  I don’t remember them ever having one, but  I remember my grandma having one in her bedroom.  Ed shared that his parents had a phone table, too.  I’d actually forgotten about phone tables and what they looked like, so I checked out Google and found a couple of photos, but I don’t remember grandma’s being as fancy as the one in the photo below.  Speaking of grandma and her telephone, I found it quite interesting that I can still remember her phone number after nearly 34 years.  The phone number was 654-2820!

Way back in my childhood days, phones were black, had short cords, rotary dials, and most sat on top of tables.  Phones were also very heavy in those days!  Ed and I had the pleasure of witnessing the evolution of the telephone while growing up. Phones became lighter, came in a variety of colors, and eventually even had push buttons on them!

Who remembers those infuriating “party lines”?  Because we lived in a rural area, we shared our phone line with other people for many years. This meant we could hear other people’s conversations, and they could hear ours. It also meant if our neighbor left their phone off the hook, we couldn’t use ours!  Some people could be really rude when they wanted to use the phone–they’d whistle into the phone, dial the phone, or press the disconnect button up and down.  Fortunately, most people simply politely asked to use the phone.  It was a great day of celebration when everyone got a private line!

Ed and I didn’t have a telephone for several months after we first got married. When we finally were able to afford a phone, I chose a push button princess phone (like the one pictured above, except ours was black), and had it installed in the bedroom. This turned out not to be such a great idea. The cord was short, so we were stuck in the bedroom for every phone conversation! Years later, we eventually put a wall phone in the kitchen, with a super-long cord!  It was our first push-button phone, and it was also our first phone that wasn’t black.  It was white!  Keep in mind, this was still in the days when phones still had to have cords, and most people still had only one phone in the house!

These days, Ed and I have two cordless phones, but we still have a push button wall phone in the kitchen.  It’s a nostalgic Coca-Cola phone because I love all things Coca Cola, and I liked the way it looks.  This phone sure comes in handy when the power goes out!  We also have a phone that works independently of our land line, by using a Magic Jack, along with our router!  Phone technology–it’s come a long way since 1954!

Published in: on October 2, 2012 at 10:24 am  Comments (9)  
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  1. My grandmother was on a party line when I was a kid. You had to listen for a certain number of rings to know the call was for her house. She also had a telephone chair/stand that was in the hall where the one phone for the house sat. Recently I have seen a few of the old telephone stands in some local antique stores – some refurbished. I’m sure my girls don’t know what they are!

  2. I don’t remember not having a phone … nor do I remember having a party line. But I do remember having to tell the operator what number to dial. I also remember a lot of houses, back in the day, built in special little niches for phones. Yep, phones have changed over the years. 😉

  3. My earliest phone memory dates back to when I was two and a half and my parents and I were moving into a new apartment. The phone was already there for some reason but not connected. It was on the bathroom floor. To keep me occupied, I guess, I was given the phone but recall being somewhat hesitant just in case an operator answered. I guess I’d seen too many early TV programs where a phone call meant going through an operator.

  4. Growing up we had a party line as well. For the most part everyone was polite over the phone but every once in a while, they would yell into the phone “GET OFF ALREADY!!!” It was black and hung on the wall in the hall with a very long cord so that we could walk around the house. Yes, the times sure have changed.

  5. As a nine-year-old, I had so much fun with party lines. I knew so much scandalous gossip about those on our line, I called them my “friends from afar.” That’s a title to one of the stories in my book, in fact.

  6. I can still remember my grandma’s phone number too! 549-2759

    We had a party line once since we lived in the country in the early 90’s and my dad did not want to pay extra money for a private line. That only lasted a few weeks because the person we shared the line with was the one neighbor who my dad did not get along with.

  7. I cannot remember having a phone until we moved when I was almost five. I remember relatives and family friends who had a phone table. At the small , but big to me then, house we moved to, there was a short hallway that included a little niche in the wall for the phone.

    I can’t remember if that is where the phone actually was. Phones evidently held little fascination until much later in my life!

  8. I don’t remember when we didn’t have a phone and I do remember the first number I memorized, I was about 4 or 5.
    I remember if you had more than one phone in your house,it cost more. At one time, we had 3. I had a red princess phone in the bedroom in our second house. We’ve been without land lines now for 9 years and haven’ t missed them at all, especially the telemarketer calls.
    I hate talking on the phone, these days my conversations are short and sweet or text.
    Mama Bear

  9. Fun post. I think I remember my grandparents living in a 2 flat building and there was a pay phone out in the hallway. They didn’t have a phone until later. I did like when the princess phones came out.

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