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Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2016

I've Got Your Number

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We just got our new telephone books. It always used to be such a pleasure to get the new ones each year so that we could get information on new arrivals, new businesses and numbers for those people who had moved during the year. The present books are fine, but many of our friends are no longer listed there. They have disposed of their "land phones" and communicate only through their cell phones, or their e-mails. That is fine if they have given lots of people their new number. And it would be fine if I could find the piece of paper I wrote their new number on.

Maybe they don't really care whether I can call them or not. Most of them are too busy using their cell phones in the car, in the grocery store, or while walking down the sidewalks to wonder if I had a need to call them. Actually with all the advances in communication it seems like we are communicating less. Within certain circles of text messaging, calling on the cell phones, or sending e-mails there is a lot of communicating going on.

But if I met someone at a meeting, or at the church and wanted to invite them to a gathering, I have no way of calling them if they only have a cell phone and didn't have a reason to share their number with me when we met.

At a recent family gathering near Springfield we exchanged e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers with nieces and great nieces. It was good to get them so that we could keep in touch. However I can't find the envelope where I wrote all that information. We do have their street addresses but I know that I won't write a pen and ink letter as quickly as I would send an e-mail. So the quickest way to get a message to that generation from us is to call their parents who all still have the old style land phones.

When our eight-year-old great granddaughter was visiting us last weekend she wanted to have a key ring for her house key she was carrying in her pocket. I found one I hadn't used, that had a small red dial phone on it. It was the type of phone that has the receiver across the top of phone above the dial. She liked it very much because red is her favorite color. After a few minutes she came back to me asking what that red thing was supposed to be! Her father has a cell phone and she had never seen a phone that looked like that. We remembered when we changed from orally giving the operators the number we wanted, we were each called to teach us how to use a dial phone. I don't remember any instructions given when we began to punch in numbers instead of dialing. I wonder if the dial phones still work. We don't have any so I can't experiment.

I do have a cell phone, but I have to keep the number written down in front of me because I use the numbers of other people most often. If someone asks me for my number I often have problems remembering it correctly. It seems like everyone in the family has a different prefix number and that makes it even harder to keep them all straight.

It was so simple to just tell the operator that I wanted Wisconsin 4900. I just had to remember four numbers then. And if I didn't remember those numbers, all I had to do was look under their last name in the phone book.

I guess if I can still remember 911 I will be okay in this world of communications. But it would be nice once more to have the operator at "Central" tell me that Mrs. Watson wasn't home but would be back after she sold her eggs in town.

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus