The Good Old Days Of The Telephone

I'm not exactly sure how this list came about.  Maybe because my cell was beeping it's annoying reminder that my battery was in need of a charge.  Or maybe it's because the Hubs had texted me three times in a row with "I", then "love" then "you".  It all just got me thinking about telephones, and the good old days, when I was very young.  So here is a list of ten facts about Ma Bell ... or would that now be Grandma Bell?

1)  A telephone was basic piece of equipment that hung on the wall in the kitchen, or sat on an end table in the living room.  The receiver was permanently attached to the base, which was permanently attached to the wall.  So, if Grandma called, you always knew where to find Mom.  Not very freeing for Mom, but it gave us the freedom to finally get into that forbidden thing that we weren't supposed to get into.   

2)  A phone had a rotary dial that went "click click click" when you dialed a number, and "r-i-ing r-i-ing" when you had a call.  That's it.  Click click, and ring ring.  But at least you could never confuse your record collection with your telephone.  You would be committed if you ever said something like "Is that my favorite song playing, or am I getting a call?"

3)  If you were on the phone with someone, and someone else tried to call you, they would hear an annoyingly repetitive beep called a "busy signal", to let them know that you were otherwise engrossed in conversation, and they were just going to have to call you another time.  We missed out on a lot of dates that way, Ladies.

4)  If you weren't at home when your phone rang, you would miss the call.  In fact, you would never even know that they tried to reach you in the first place.  Only your cat knows, but unfortunately she has been driven insane by the fifteen "r-i-ing r-i-ing"s that occurred every twenty minutes, for the last four hours.  Well, there's another party, you won't be attending. 

5)  If you wanted to make a call while you were out and about, it was easy enough to locate a phone booth.  There was one on every corner.  It was a cute little glass house that came complete with a phone, a convenient shelf on which to count your coins, task lighting, and not one... but two phone books.  As an added bonus, you walked away with a staph infection on your lips, and urine on your shoes.

6)  When the phone rang, you had no way of knowing who was on the other end of that line.  It could be the Sweepstakes commission, calling to announce your winnings.  Or the mortgage company, calling to demand your payment.  What a great way to refine our talents for deception.  You could answer the phone in a foreign language.  Tell them they have the wrong number.  Or for even more fun, deepen your voice and say "Dave's not here, Man."

7)  A telephone had a remarkable ability to make a phone call.... oh, yes, and it could also receive a phone call!  It was like multi-tasking, only you had to do them separately. 

8)  There were a number of games you could play on your phone!  You could call someone... and then hang up!  Or you could pretend to be someone else...  What a hoot!

9)  Most phones came with a wonderful feature that would take a message for you, if you were unable to answer a call.  It was called "children".  They didn't use electricity, or batteries... only a pencil and a scrap of paper.  You could read your messages at your leisure, and most of the time, know exactly what you had missed.  Except for things like "Dad called.  He's going to be on a date after work, because he checked your lipstick and you were low on soil, so he's going to put your car in the garbage." (See if you can figure that one out).

10)  You could even listen to music on your phone!  All you had to do was "click click click" to your best friend, who just bought a new album.  Then they would lay their receiver down next to the speakers and play the latest tunes.  Easy!


  1. My grandmother still has a black rotary phone on a wall-mounted table in her hallway. I get a busy signal often when I call her. She DID break down and get an answering machine recently though!

  2. This list is hilarious. I haven't gotten a written phone message in forever!


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