Thursday, October 29, 2009

Remember When . . .

Last night, I was telling the lovely Miss Healthypants about advances in the telephone industry that I’ve seen in my lifetime.

She replied, “Man, your are old.”

Actually, I’m not that old. It’s just that my little bitty home town in Texas was really behind the times. (They didn’t get push-button phones until 1983.)

So, for all the old folks out there, can any of you remember the following?

1. Telling the operator that you’d like to place a person-to-person long-distance call.

2. Placing a station-to-station long-distance phone call.

3. Phone numbers that contained letters. (Our phone number was MI 5-3191. Before that, it was OL 9-2368)

4. Sending or receiving a telegram.

5. Requesting the operator to place an overseas phone call and waiting for her to call you back when it was connected.

6. The first time you placed a long-distance phone call by dialing it yourself.

7. Calling someone who had a party line.

8. Knowing what a party line is.

9. The first time you ever used a push-button phone.

10. The thrill of using call-waiting for the first time.

Yes, I can remember all those things. (Man, I am old.)

How did we ever survive back then before the age of cell phones, email, Facebook, and online pornography?

I’ll tell you how -- We used clunky dial phones, wrote letters, visited each other in person and looked at underwear photos in the JC Penney catalogue like God intended.

I sound like an old fuddy-duddy and that’s not the case. Ever since I placed my first long-distance, direct-dialed phone call at the age of ten, (which was totally groovy) I’ve been a communication technology nerd.

Big time.

In the mid-eighties, I worked in the International department at a bank in Austin and practically got aroused every time I sent a Telex to Taiwan or Singapore. I’d even smoke a cigarette afterward.

I love the fact that I can play Scrabble on Facebook with friends all over the Earf.
Love. It.

I get nervous whenever I forget to bring my cell phone with me anywhere.

See? I fully embrace technology.

However, I still get insanely irritated whenever anyone texts me. That’s when I pick up my 1964 rotary dial Trimline phone, dial their number and ask them what the hell they wanted.

Man, I am old.


At 1:53 PM , Blogger Fleeter said...

You must be ALOT older than me ... I only remember us having the MIchell exchange. And we only had to dial the last 5 numbers locally. And yes, you speak the truth on everything else you recalled.

Remember how making a long distance phone call (even if it was just 25 miles down the road) was a major expense and required approval before dialing? And if there was a long distance call made or received, we gathered everyone around to pick up on all extensions and double up on phones to get our full money's worth? And most long distance calls were limited to 5 minutes or less so not to run up that phone bill?

Another small town memory: When my little sister went off to college, she called home collect and mis-dialed the number once. The drugstore answered . . . and accepted the charges. They did know her after all. And who knew, maybe she needed something important from the drugstore? I wonder if it was Budgie that answered the call?

At 2:34 PM , Blogger Buck said...

Fleeter - - I'm not THAT much older than you. We were in band together after all.
Yes, I remember making those horribly expensive lond distance calls to Victoria. You are right -- we would all double up on the phones!

I'm sure that was Budgie who accepted the charges. She would never pass up a chance to talk with anybody!

At 6:29 PM , Blogger Barb said...

Yeah, not only do I remember all those things ~ I was a switchboard operator at a hotel on Miami Beach back when there was no dial on the phones in the room. You picked up the phone and we'd place all the calls for the guests.

At 3:13 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said...

I TOLD you you're old. *hee hee*

At 6:13 PM , Blogger MaryRuth said...

My parents (living in a big city) had a rotary dial phone into the 1990's.
We had a party line until 1965.
We had a calling plan that was limited to 3 outgoing calls per day. Grandma, however, had unlimited calls. So if you wanted to talk to Grandma, you called her number, let it ring once and hung up. Then Grandma would call us back.
Our exchange was EVergreen and I think I said it that way until the late 1960's.
When I moved away and would call Grandma long-distance..she'd talk loud and fast....
Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

At 9:03 PM , Blogger Pati Mc said...

Remember them all but # 4. I have never sent or received a telegram. The JC Penney catalog comment made me crack up, but what about National Geo? That was quite the scandal when I was a kid. OhMyGoodness, naked natives????? Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Man I am OLD too.

At 1:04 AM , Blogger Speck said...

Oh lawsy, let me take my Geritol and change my Depends.

Our phone was ED2-2638. I haven't thought about that for eons. You only had to dial the five numbers.

Long distance calls were verboten at our house unless somebody had died. We had no extensions because you were charged for them as if they were another line.

My cousins still had a party line in the late 1970's, but they lived on a farm waaaay out in BFE.

Momma still had the Ma Bell, black rotary-dial phone in 2005 when we closed down her house, with a stick-on plastic dial ring advertising one of the local banks. It was bright yellow with BIG numbers.


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