Today I cancelled our land line. It was a bittersweet end since I can remember the days when a landline was all there was. It was a sort of security blanket that had become more expensive than it was worth. As I thought back about my life long affair with the telephone I thought of all the changes that had occurred in something seemingly so simple as the telephone. Here are some of the things that I remember
- I remember when our phone had a cloth-covered wire cord that was not permanently coiled. The handset weighted about five pounds.
- I remember when the local phone company was the Morrison Telephone Company and you could pay your bill right there at the local office, the only office, in Morrison, Illinois.
- I remember when you only had 4 numbers in your phone number.
- I remember having a party line.
- I remember when Ma Bell bought the Morrison Telephone Company out and they came to our house to replace our heavy clunker phone with the cloth cord with a new shiny black plastic phone with a permanently coiled cord.
- I remember when we got a private line.
- I remember when you dialed the operator you got someone you knew at the local phone company, and they actually could help you because they knew your family.
- I remember phone booths.
- I remember three-tiered telephone rates, daytime, evening and nights and weekends. You called long distance according to the clock to save money.
- I remember calling “home” person to person to let my folks know I arrived without paying for a long-distance phone call.
- I remember when you phone was hard wired and you could not just unplug it and move it.
- I remember when you paid extra for extra extensions.
- I remember when you called directory assistance you were re-routed to the town you were calling about, and they could actually help you, because you were talking to someone in that town.
- I remember when your exchange (the three numbers between the area code and your phone number) meant something. Beverly8-1511, meant you lived in the Beverly neighborhood and your first two numbers were found on the numbers were B and E appeared.
- I remember when rotary dial was the only option.
- I remember when you dialed the operator for an emergency not 911. The operator knew who was calling and where from, heck she even knew my folks. No need to tell her why I was calling.
- I remember when Ma Bell was broke up
Yep I grew up with the telephone. I watched the marriage of Ma Bell and every little company she found. I saw the demise of Ma Bell and all the came with it. Now I am part of the huge exodus from the phone company. They are not changing with the times, I wonder what it will look like just 10 years from now. Will I recognize it or will it be as foreign as the little company that serviced the first phone I remember?