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April 11, 2011

TheTrill is Gone

by Hank

 Phone 1

 Dear Telephone.

I fear to tell you, since we've had such a wonderful relationship over all these years, and certainly I'm grateful, but the thrill is gone.

I remember you, CLifford 1-4858. You were a black rotary phone on the wall and my cute little sister and I had such fun with you! We'd call a random number, then say "Yes, May I help you?" And when the person on the other end was confused, and insisted WE'D called THEM, we'd excoriate them for playing with the phone. (No lame "is your refrigerator running" phone pranks for us.)  Yes, phone, I liked you then. 

(And we had a party line, didn't we, for part of  the time? And it was weird but fun to pick up the receiver and hear someone's voice that we didn't quite know who was. And we were not allowed to listen in.)

I remember you, UPtown 3-2768. I remember you were a pink princess phone  with buttons, so very new,  in the Beatle-wallpapered bedroom I shared with my suddenly bratty and annoying little sister. We'd would call the radio station to try to win records and tickets, and you were so good at it! And I know you were always ready to take the calls from the boys who rarely called...and you were so patient  when I'd check to see whether maybe, maybe, there was something wrong with you when the calls didn't come. Maybe our phone was broken? Maybe it was busy? Off the hook? And that's why they didn't call?  I relied on you!  You were my lifeline to coolness. 

(Even though being on the AXminster exchange was cooler. One could always know who lived in the flossy neighborhoods because they were AXminster. Or TRinity. We were UPtown, which meant rural. But I digress.)

Even years later, when you received your three-new-numbered area code (those would never last, right?) and lost your instantly-recognizable glamorously geographical nametags, and became all numbers, I still couldn''t live without you.  Newstips and news sources and appointments and dating and guys and endless endless chatting with girlfriends about what had REALLY happened that night or what we should DO or SAY or tell someone.

Bells And when I lived in Washington DC, I had an answering service, a real person, like in Bells Are Ringing, who'd take my messages and then tell me when I got home who had called. (She seemed to really care about my personal life, in a big-sister kind of way.) And I looked forward to talking to her. She know what was going to happen in my life before I did!

 So, dear telephone, when did it happen?

 When did the sound of your trill lose its thrill? 

I remember my first cell phone--yikes for some reason I can't remember that number, psychologists will have a field day-- and I DID love it, it was convenient (although huge) and I could call for reservations and pizza and tell people I'd be late. Nice. And my landline (when did we start saying that word?) had a tiny tape cassette as the answering machine.

 But now--I have a cell phone, which everyone expects to be on ALL  the time, and everyone expects me to answer it, and talk to them when THEY want to talk.

And when I'm home? How does our landline know to ring RIGHT when the pasta is ready, or RIGHT when The Good Wife is starting or RIGHT when we've just opened the Sunday paper and our coffee is perfectly hot and the cream cheese is melting beautifully on the bagel?

RINNNNNG!  So, what?  I'm supposed to drop everything and answer it?

 (Yes, when the lovely Malice people called about DRIVE TIME's Agatha nomination, I was thrilled to have you, dear phone, and saved the message so I can listen to it over and over, but that' s anther blog.  And when my husband fell and I had to all 911, I was pretty darn happy with you.)

Caller ID is new to our territory...love it. But to me, it's just proof of the bleak spectrum of potential callers--fundraisers, solicitors, powerwashing offers and the drugstore saying our prescription is ready. Fine, but I don't wanna talk about it. Please, leave a message, delete delete delete.

Telemarketers But caller ID is also a diabolical dilemma. If someone calls, and they think I'm home, and I don't answer they know I'm gasp--screening calls. Which is rude rude rude.   

And now, dear telephone, I'm sorry to say every time you ring now, I cringe. Frankly, part of it, I fear, is the apprehension that there'll be something bad on the other end.   Or something I have to do or take care of, or decide about.

(Oh,  tarts, you should be at our house when the phone rings. Jonathan and I look at each other. Answer it, I say.  RING RING No! He says, you answer it, It's going to be for you. No, I reply, It is not! RING RING!  YOU get it, okay? It's your turn. You get the picture. 

Then we wait til it stops ringing. And  then we check the message. And if there isn't one, we win. We hope.)

 To be fair, I don't call OUT much, either. But everyone , everyone, I see walking down the street,  (or driving, yikes) is on the phone.    Why? How would they have handled their life before you?

THOUSAND-CLOWNS_3 Remember Jason Robards, in A Thousand Clowns? He'd answer the phone: "Is it someone with good news or money? No?" And then he'd hang up.

 Dear telephone, what am I missing here? Do others love you, need you, want you, lust after the sound of your voice?

I'd love to know. Perhaps in the comments. Or send me an email. But don't call me, okay?

Do you remember your first phone number? Do you have a special ring tone on your cell?


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I remember how strict my parents were about no phone calls during dinner. The phone would ring and we would all stop talking, waiting for it to stop ringing . . . No answering machines in those days. My brother refused to come to the phone when he was a teenager, apparently he was doing small nefarious things and sometimes they caught up with him. Of course, no good news could come of a phone call that happened after 9 at night!

While I still don't have a cell phone, I do have call display and yep, on occasion I have not answered your call. Well, not any of you here, since none of you know the number.

I love walking out the front door knowing that I have no cell so no one can find me and I am free. I hate it when someone hands me their cell and expects me to call out on it, um, I don't know how.

Ah, phones. I have a love-hate relationship with them, well, maybe that is too strong of a description.

Answering the phone is a high percentage of my job. Landline, not cell phone, thank goodness. Unofficial policy is to answer the phone at no more than three rings, and since answering the phones is not the only part of my job, sometimes it could be challenging. I now have a routine, instead of picking the phone at the first ring like I used to do when I first started, I now let the phone ring three times, and in the meantime compose myself, making sure I SMILE (since you can hear if a person smile while talking on the phone). While talking on the phone, always being professional, polite and pleasant. Even if the caller is less than polite. Professional, polite and pleasant is what I can currently manage., I have not reached the level of being FRIENDLY on top of that.

The side effect of answering phones for a living is for several months having a strong aversion for phones (I mean ringing phones), I could not stand to hear phones ring, even my OWN phone. But now I have adjusted, and I no longer want to smack the phone when it rings. Being nice to the person on the phone will go a long way, I try to remember that when I am on the phone, whether as the employee or the customer. Easier said than done.

Could I call you to tell you that my houseguest is now a niddah, as loudly and joyously announced? Or do I just use the Internet for that, as I used it to find what that term was for this posting?

I use my office phone for almost *everything*, and there are perhaps five people on the planet who have my cell phone number. Some have gotten angry with me (there's a surprise!) when I explain I don't give out my cell number.

"But what if I need to talk with you?"

Call my office number.

"What if you're not there?"

I have voice mail on 24 hours a day. Leave a message and I'll call you back.

"When *I* call you, it's an emergency!"


"I said, 'When *I* call you'...."

I heard you. Leave a message and I'll call you back.




They usually catch on eventually. I don't dislike the telephone, but I dislike others feeling insulted if I don't take THEIR call instantly, regardless of what's going on elsewhere. I don't screen my calls; if I'm in the office, I answer the phone. If I don't answer, I'm either dealing with something else or not there.

I must be a freak, because I love talking on the phone. It's nice to share news or sympathy via email or on Facebook or here, but nothing beats the sound of a person's voice reacting in real time. I think back on hours and hours I spent chatting with friends and boyfriends, and I get the warm fuzzies. I miss that and wonder, too, when a phone call became intrusive and annoying.

I always answer, even during election time, which can be a real PITA. I am funny about my cell phone, however. Unless I am out, it's in my purse with the battery dying.

ALpine 6-2536 sympathizes with you. Once a proud four-party line, it has been superceded by a whole bunch of changes that have made life more bland and more expensive. When did phones get to be all-powerful? When did people decide that texting was more personal than conversation? When did people stop thinking that phone bills should not run into three figures? When did phones become cameras, record players (remember them?), computers, and personal servants?

ALpine 6-2536 longs for the days of the friendly chat, and the days when a long distance call was something SPECIAL.

ALpine 6-2536 is now in the corner, quietly weeping.

KAt, that's so interesting. Yes, when it's your JOB to answer the phone, that's different. And what a tough job that is! You're an inspiration..and please know all of us on the other end appreciate it.

William, exactly. YOu're using technology for YOU. Yay.

And Ramona, you're just...nice.

But I must say...there are days when the endlaess back and forth on email for business gets silly--THAT"s when I say--why don't we just talk on the phone? And everyone acts like it's--such a ca-razy idea!

I hear, ya, AL 6! xoo

(Do you all remember your first phone number?)

Josh--huh? Dare I ask?

Do I remember my first phone number? Uh...the first use of the phone that I remember didn't have numbers. Didn't even have a dial, although they WERE shaped like the dial phone. You picked it up and told the operator who you wanted to talk to. Later on we got dial phones and numbers and ours was 2324.

The phone number I remember best was in the 60's out on the beach at Sullivan's Island. It was wierd. 803-883-3303 (It's defunct now in this area since our area code changed to 843)

Beechmont 2-1766 feels your pain. Having made a comfortable living at a keyboard for decades, I’m much more at home with MS Word than Ma Bell. Like William, my cell phone is for my convenience and not the people trying to reach me. Call my office. I’m usually there 23 and half hours a day. If you happen to miss me, leave a message.

Plus I LOVE email. Time stamped and keeps people honest – they can’t deny something if you’ve got the email to back it up.

My youngest daughter commandeered an antique dial up phone from one of our knickknack shelves – circa pre-depression era – which had been in the family for decades and kept as a novelty item. She got it rewired and now it sits on the corner of her desk. It weights more than my laptop but I must admit it is nice to hear the click-click as it dials.

Congratulations Josh! Now when does she leave?

I have a cell phone - the cheapest one I could find, pay as you go at a cost of $20 every three months, and I have a balance of over $100. I don't talk on the phone. I don't even remember my phone number. Once in a great while I'll call on my way home from work to see if I need to pick up groceries or prescriptions or dinner. Our landline is similarly silent. My brother calls every morning, but other than that we get more solicitations than anything. Years ago we bought a telezapper (it emits a tone that tells auto dialers the number was disconnected, so we're removed from call lists). The reduction in calls over a two month period was amazing. Now we sign up for the no call lists, and only have to talk to fundraisers for politicians and police departments. I'm very good at telling them no, I don't give money to anyone who calls and asks me for it.

I don't remember life without area codes. I couldn't reach our wall mounted black rotary phone until I was at least 9 or 10 years old. All numbers on our local exchange could be dialed using only 5 numerals. i only called one of two numbers one of them being 6-3942, my grandparents. We had that black wall phone until 1976 when my parents remodeled and the phone location had to move. Then they received a beige rotary wall phone which went into the new kitchen. They refused to get touch tone since the service cost more money both in phone rental and service fees. They had dial phones into the late 80's.

These days it seems no one takes the time to memorize phone numbers. Once you enter the number you either put it on speed dial or look it up in your digital phone book. My daughter, who's 26, doesn't know anybodies number. All she remembers are the memory locations.

Rod, I didn't realize that's what the "23" meant: Beechmont. Now it all becomes clear. Our number growing up was 895-4347, but I have no idea what the "89" stood for. Oh, wait, yes I do. It was something like Twigwood, but that's not it. It will come to me. Haven't thought of that in years.

In the last few years I have gotten almost as crotchety about the phone ringing as my husband is. He refuses to pick it up, and will peer at the Caller ID and ANNOUNCE who it is, then hand me the phone, which has been ringing for a couple rings, rather than answer it. Drives me crazy. But our kids usually call my cell phone, since we're all on the same plan--and since Steve keeps turning his off. "To conserve the battery" he says.

We're on the "do not call" lists, too, but there are a couple businesses that think those lists don't apply to them, including a very annoying credit card "fixing" company that makes robocalls. I frankly don't get the point, especially since they don't actually say what they want in the automated call. The only way to talk to a human being is to answer their call, listen to the entire spiel (which sounds as though your credit card is overcharged, or overdue, or ready to be cancelled), and press a number. And then it's someone overseas who can't understand a thing you say. Makes me want to tear my hair out.

I used to spend hours yakking on the phone. Wonder when that changed?

Josh, HUZZAH! Show that dingaling to door, and invite her to not let it hit her in the posterior.

Now I remember: 89 stood for Twinbrook! I knew it was rattling around in my mental filing cabinet somewhere.

I answer multiple incoming lines every day as an "extra" part of my job. It is interesting how many people are bugged by voice mail and automated attendants. I'm the "O" for the operator option.

In the rest of my life, I carry a cell phone, and pay for a digital "landline" at home because my daughters are home after school for a few hours before I get home. I'm comforted by the thought that they can call me or 911 if they need to at anytime.

I carry the cell phone, but don't answer it all that much. Friends and family leave VM or text on my cell. People I don't know and the school leave VM on the answering machine at home.

As a kid, I could never tell the rings apart at my Grandma's house. The phone would ring, and I'd rush to answer, but only if I got a nod from her letting me know the call was for her!

Oh, Marcia, the different rings! Remember how weird that was? Now, everyone has a different ring, right and we PAY for them.

(My cell phone..okay, wait for it..just rings. Imagine! I used to have it play the theme from Charlies Angels, which I admit I got a kick out of, but everyone else was annoyed.)

Do you all have special ring tones? What are they?

CR2-3489. Perfect phone number for a 5 year-old to have to learn, what with it being all numeric.

I have a love-hate relationship with my phone--but I LOVE caller-ID. And yes, I don't always answer. My cell phone is still a work in progress. For years, it was never charged and the family joke was that no one knew why I even had it since I never answered it. Then I got an iPhone. Love at first app. And I fell even harder once iTunes acquired the Beatles library and I could make "Hey Jude" my ringtone.

I completely resent the phone. It reminds me of a little kid who hasn't been taught not to interrupt when adults are talking.

One of the reasons (including lack of talent) that I never continued on in journalism was that I loathed the telephone. I have a serious Startle Reaction to it. I must have been scared by the Pony Express in an earlier lifetime. "Oh, noes! The Pony Express is here, Ma! Somebody must have died back home in Philadelphia!"

But Hank, I loved those "name" prefixes, and so wish we still had them. ARmour 0262. JEfferson 3926. DElmar 1063.

Loved this post! LOL... PRescott 8-something... sounded so formal. I had nightmares when my parents went to a push-button phone instead of the rotary - I'd try to punch in numbers and mess up, and be frantic in my dream. heh heh... tech stress! Now I can't be without my cell phone keyboard for texting. ;-D

Oh, the number/letter thing--like when you spell words on the keyboard? I memorized our next door neighbors alarm code by making it a word. But then, when I actually had to use it--I discovered there were no letters on their alarm code pad.

So I'm like--oh, no--J! What number is J!

Yes, NAncyP. The startle reaction. I jump EVERY time the phone rings. ANd if my cell rings? I hit the ceiling.

Oh, yes, Meg, PRescott is very elegant.

Like BUtterfield 8.

We were EMpire, but I don't remember the number.

Steve's friends, clients and family have been very happy that I moved in. I am incapable of letting a phone go unanswered. Steve will almost never answer the phone, it's amazing that he did when I called back in the beginning of us.

Oh gosh...watched a little of Butterfield 8 last night. My first phone number was Ulster 9-6009. I loved it and hated when NYC moved to all numbers. I actually hate to talk on the phone but I love those old phones - just scored one from a recently deceased relative who worked for the phone company in the '50's. BTW is A Thousand Clowns not one of the great sort of forgotten movies?

My childhood phone number was 32054; later on, it became DAvis 32054, and finally 323-2054. We lived on the west side of town; the east side numbers had the prefix FIreside.

Although I have a cell phone, I rarely use it, and I turn it on only to make a phone call. I originally got it for use on the road so I could call AAA if necessary (and I've used it for that a few times.) At that time I had only 30 free minutes per month. Now I use it for the free long-distance minutes, since all of my family lives out of town. When I am asked by doctors, companies, etc, if I have a cell phone, I Just Say NO.

I use Caller ID and an answering machine on my land line. I NEVER answer the phone unless it's family or friends calling. Although I'm supposedly on every Do Not Call list around, I still get calls from the phone and cable companies, as well as the charities looking for donations.

A couple of years ago I started getting "wrong number" calls from a collection agency, calling for someone I never heard of. I was initially not at home when they called, and I just didn't bother returning the message they left on my answering machine, because I'm not the person they wanted. They continued calling for a few weeks, always when I wasn't home, and leaving more and more agitated messages. Finally, one time when I WAS home when they called (I recognized the number on Caller ID) I answered the phone and told them they had the wrong number. The caller screamed and yelled at me and called me a liar! I had trouble understanding the last name of the person he was looking for and I tried to ask him to spell it for me - I was going to offer to look it up in the phone book. He continued screaming at me that I was supposed to SHUT UP and let HIM do the talking, and I'd BETTER START COOPERATING! After about fifteen minutes of being interrupted by him - he kept saying that if I would just COOPERATE they'd stop calling, he finally calmed down and said that they would "investigate" and IF I was telling the truth, the calls would stop within 48 hours. The calls stopped, and it was from that point on that I decided I would no longer answer the phone without screening the calls first. By the way, I called the phone company to report this abusive call, and I was told that the caller stayed just barely on the side of not breaking any laws! They did tell me what I could do if something like that happened again in the future. I looked up the number on line and discovered that it's a collection agency with a record of calling the wrong person and insisting on trying to get money out of whoever happens to pick up the phone!

So I thought it was all over. Early in November I started getting calls again for the same person but this time around the number showed up as "Unavailable" on my Caller ID. I never answered the phone. The calls for that person went on into the first week in January, and then stopped - until last week. They haven't left a message but the various callers are starting to become agitated when nobody answers the phone. So far, ALL of the calls have come when nobody is home. IF THEY CALL WHEN I AM AT HOME I AM NOT ANSWERING THE PHONE.

Hank, I love this post. I also, sad to say, love my phone with all the features. I love caller ID, because I can call back! I love voicemail, because I can call back! I love email & text on my Blackberry, because I don't have to call back if I don't want to--I can just "type."

I remember my first phone number, the numbers of two best friends growing up, the number of my parents' veterinary clinic, which is sadly, now gone to dust.

Off to share this!

FU5-1875 (yes, really) The full prefix was Fulton, though I'm not sure where that came from. Before that we had 5-1875 which was a party line. We got to learn which ringtone was ours at an early age, and like Hank never EVER listened in, right? I don't remember most of my other numbers, although I confess that having to remember Catherine's everchanging college phones might have muddied the cerebral waters. Not to mention the swirling of the Area Codes...my sister has had hers change three times and she hasn't moved. At all.
I too jump when the phone rings...usually because I'm deep in a DVD or reading...and god forbid it rings late at night or really early in the AM. Someone's sick, dead, or in real trouble. But I screen calls shamelessly on the landline. Every once in a while I pick up an Out of Area just to see if someone is really on the other end, or if it's random digit dialing. No one there after my first hello? Click.
My cell is never on...well, unless I tell someone to call me or it's Sunday night when Catherine calls. Or I have a flat or something like that. But so I know it's mine when it IS on, my ringtone is Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg. Oh...and it's six years old. Still works, and why pay for gadgets I'll never use? I have the GPS tracker thing to help the EMT's find me in an emergency and one advantage. I can get reception when others can't...and only rarely do I lose a call.

I remember everybody's telephone number from 1949, ours, our neighbors', my grandmother's, everybody, but I'm not telling them to you because they make such handy passwords. What else can I remember at my age that nobody else knows?

My cell phone, too, is usually in some pocket or purse with the battery stone dead. Nobody ever calls me anyway. I tell you what,though, it makes a really good alarm clock.

My husband and I live behind what used to be this town's general store. We closed the store in 06, but as the store phone was also our home phone we kept the number and asked the phone company to change the listing to a residence. They agreed, but five years later it still hasn't happened. The phone rep is always very sorry and will make sure it doesn't happen again next year. 99% of incoming calls are from some company wanting to do business with the store; most are robo-calls. As annoying and frustrating as this is, I just can't seem to give up the land line. The cell service out here is at best three bars, zero bars is a frequent occurrence that can be overcome by standing in the middle of the highway where there's usually at least one bar. On the happy day there are enough cell towers, or whatever technology replaces those eyesores, I will joyfully remove the most annoying invention ever crated from my home! It will be a very happy day when there is no longer any reason to talk to the phone company!

Kate, what a fabulous idea for a password! BRILLIANT. Completely brilliant.

Oh, Maryann, their area codes changed..but they didn't move. Isn't that very...existential?

Rosemary, yes, A Thousand Clowns is terrific...you knw, I think the problem with it is that it's difficult to rmember the title. You know? It;s from some wonderful line in the movie, whch I totally forget. But if you haven't seen the movie, the tote doesn't make sense at all, and it doesn't connect.

If they'd called it "Naming Nick" we'd remember, right? But that would give it away.

Karen: Years and years ago I read an article about Cincinnati phone prefixes and how they related to major streets or parts of town. 66 was for "Montana Ave" in Westwood. 24 "City", etc.

After "Butterfield 8" (the 1935 John O'Hara novel not the movie)and the dramatic increase in phone customers,it pretty much died out.

TUxedo2-2010 and it was a party line. The other households that shared the line were not happy that my Dad was on 24-call for his job and the phone frequently rang in the middle of the night. I answer my phone at work because I have to do so. Outside of work my phone is dial out device that is there for me to use at my convenience.

When I was a small child ours was 933J and you got the operator when you picked up the phone. The first dial phone was GE1-2807. I don't remember what the GE stood for.

When Dad built our new house out of town we had an 8 party line (most families had teenagers so there was often someone on the phone when you tried to make a call.) We had distinctive rings. I think ours was 2 longs and a short. When friends from town visited they would give us strange looks when we ignored the ringing phone and some would hesitantly ask why we didn't answer it.

Count me in on those who get really ticked off with automated systems especially if my "need" doesn't fit any of the categories. Also some "voice recognition" services don't "recognize" my voice and by the time I've repeated it 15 times I'm ready to throw the phone down the street. It always seems to be the ones that don't have a key in option.

I still have my landline since I have a fax and also for 911. My younger family members use cell phones exclusively and most prefer texting to talking. I've finally started texting since it is about the only way to reach some of them.

I agree though that sometimes I wish I could just talk to the person and take care of business in a couple of minutes instead of repeated texts or e-mails.

VInewood 9-2987. (Although I COVET TUxedo!) My mother still has the number, erm, fifymumble years later!

Can I tell you why I'm late to the blog this morning? I have been installing Skype on my computer and iPad. I HATE the phone (I keep my cell phone turned off) but now I want to see my grandchildren, so it's Skype.

Ah, yes, HArrison 7-6472. Dad switched us off the party line when I was helping a friend with algebra homework on the phone, "The kids are growing up. We need our own line." Girls were NOT to call boys in those days.
I still don't have the "must be connected all the time" feeling with the cell phone, which stays off most of the time.

CHarter 9 5246.The phone rings at home and my husband looks at me... I look at him. It's a game of chicken.
The cell phone doesn't run my life because I am a dinosaur. My son, whose phone is always on and attached to his body, bought us a cell phone to use while traveling. I have no idea how to change the ring tone. No one can leave a message because I haven't figured out how to set up voice mail. I live in a simple world. It's wonderful.

I am a lot more bothered by unwanted email. Now I know how to handle that. Plant this auto-message in my email:

"My carpel tunnel is acting up, so if you need to communicate with me, call me on the telephone."

I'll bet that would work. Some people, I bet I'd never hear from again....

I used to talk for hours on the telephone with friends and family members.
Alas, now I have become a one phrase or two word communicator and I blame it on the INTERNET.
I answer with short quips, pauses and yes and no.
I remind myself of Jack Webb on the old detective show DRAGNET where Joe Friday speaks in little sound bites and asks for just the facts Ma'am. It's killing me because I used to be a ranter and a raconteur and now I have become a sound bite. And glaring down at the buttons on my cell phone gives me a headache.
I want Lily Tomlin to handle my calls..one ringy, dingy..OK?

So here is the problem..I need a new USB cable for my nook.
I called , I struggled with a rep from another country who was friendly but was flummoxed by my side loading question so I was put on "hold" while a tech specialist could research the problem
Cable will be sent in 4 to 5 BUSINESS DAYS. Not received yet in timely manner.
Another call was made and suspiciously the same lady rep attempted to talk me through while I juggeled my nook and gave all the info again. After another round it was in the system but not shipped yet.
Another promise of 3 to 4 business days shipping promised. I hang up and start calculating the business days..should be here Wednesday of this year.
Business days in rep speak might be calculated in dog years..who knows.
I will wait and I will call again and by now the lady in the foreign country will recognize my voice, we'll exchange recipes and then I will be promised my cable in 2 to 4 business days. And that is why I love customer reps..they have become my new Best Friends or BF's.

SHerwood 36543 really enjoyed this post!
When visiting my parents last month, to my amazement I discovered I was the only one who remembered our original phone number. (And yet they recall other family trivia with scary and/or embarrassing detail.)
Never had a party line, but I know plenty who did.
I refer to my cell phone as my "walkie-talkie"--that's basically how my husband and I use ours. A typical call is made from the supermarket aise ("Should I pick up some...?") or when we split up to visit different stores in a shopping mall.
I can count on one hand the number of people with whom I've shared my cell number.
For me it's a convenience, not a lifestyle. It has no apps. The one that just died didn't even have a camera. The replacement does, but since I'm a photographer it's not exactly my go-to piece of equipment! My UK mobile phone is ever-so-slightly smarter than my US cell phone but it doesn't have a camera.
I do like texting, but there are only 2 people I ever text in the US. In the UK only 1.
At home, I rigorously monitor calls. God created the answerphone for a reason.

I remember the 257 part. I also remember when I called the city and I didn't have to dial 212 or vice versa.

Dear Hank, I won't call you if you won't call me and we'll be friends forever!

Oh, I want TUxedo! But FUlton is pretty funny. Much cooler to have words.

Calling a BOY! The most absolutely forbidden action!

So I'm with ya, Karen in NC, about that game of chicken. Because if you;re the one who has to answer the phone, you have to DO something. So you lose. Our house is just the same way!

And Margaret, I'm a no-apps girl too. My cell phone is so old, they dont even make the charger anymore.

It was hard to keep friends. My dad liked to answer, Graham Mortuary! You stab em and we slab em!

Fun, too, my sister and I had voices almost exactly alike. I loved to pretend to be her and gain info from boys for parental blackmail!

My parents have the same phone number they had when I was born. RAndolph 4-64XX. I still have my first cell phone number; we didn't get one until 2003 when Dear Daughter went away to college.

When I was little my grandparents had a 4 digit phone number. I remember getting a "Sarah" (from Mayberry, lol) on the line and asking for the number. but then it went to direct dialing the 4 digits. Once their tiny little phone company was bought out by a big, huge company in the early 70s did they go to a 7 digit number.

Meg reminded me of a recurring nightmare of trying to dial the phone, getting one number wrong, and then having to hang up and start over--over and over again. It was always in an emergency situation, too, either someone was in the house and I was trying to call the police, or some family member needed emergency assistance and I kept botching the dialing. Ugh.

Heather, my grandfather answered the phone in a similar way, only replying "Fire Department", instead. Once, while waiting for an uncle to call to say his plane had landed, Grandpa answered that way, only to then have to convince the caller that no, it was not, in fact, the fire department, and he could not, in fact, run over and put out the lady's kitchen fire.

I have an LG Chocolate Touch phone that precedes ringing with an announcement: "Call from Rod Pennington, mobile", "Text from Holly Maslowski". I can't figure out how to remove the announcement, nor can I figure out how to keep the damn thing from telling me, out loud, what numbers I'm dialing when I'm trying to make a call that is not in the phone's memory.

The only reason I have this phone at all is because my beloved flip phone stopped working last summer and could not be fixed, and the only phones they had were fancy ones. My husband has the same old flip model, and he's babying it along because he likes it so much. It does have a camera, but that's it. It's just a phone, and it doesn't pocket dial. What more do you need?

TRiangle 6-1553. Mom still had that number until she passed. I can remember picking up the phone as a child and not understanding why people were already talking. Luckily we only had 2 on the party line.
Later the town needed a new exchange and came up with WEllington 1. For some reason, the TRiangle folks always thought they were better than the WEllington people.

I forgot to mention this earlier. My grandmother was a telephone operator in Hamilton, Ohio before she married in the 20's, back when there were just a few hundred phones. Grandma had every number memorized. And up until the day she died, in her early 90's, she had the most pleasant phone voice you could imagine.

I would post my first phone number, but it is still my mom's number. Let's all take a moment to remember a really neat lady and friend of mine, Alberta Slavin. She sued the Bell system on the right to have your own, not rented phone. Sadly, she died about 18 months ago.

If you call my land line today, expect me to hear the message in about two days. Important calls come to my cell phone, as do text, facebook, and two email accounts. If you think that is overkill, a writer friend needed the ins and outs of Domino's thin crust pizza late on a Friday night. Her emails came to my phone.

Pizza Dude Alan LOVES caller ID. 80% of pizza robberies used to start as phony orders. CallerID changed all that. The store where I worked when the CallerID system was installed had a driver go to every payphone in the delivery area and call the store. The locations then got entered into the database. Pretty funny listening to someone tell you they are calling from their house when you can hear the buses in the background and CallerID says "Payphone at Phillips 66 on SCRR". Bet your life on CAllerID? I have.

Josh, look on the bright side, niddah means she ain't hariyyah.

Should never have called Barnes and Noble, http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=usb+to+nook&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=837806984255481915&sa=X&ei=BUujTY61K-aF0QGPw9j_BA&ved=0CCkQ8wIwBA# $1 plus shipping.

My cell ringtone is pretty distinctive. One day I was at the store and ran into a friend's wife. We were talking when we heard:

We both reached for our phones. "Your ring tone is Another Brick in the Wall - part 2, too?" -yep.

How could this have gone on this long without this:



Alan, the Nook does not charge via a USB connection, for some reason. It can only charge through an electrical socket. Makes no sense, but there it is.

We got rid of our landline about 3 years ago. No one important ever called anyway. When you're hearing impaired the phone is the devil's advocate. Friends know that you either e-mail me or text me. Otherwise it's going to be one very frustrating conversation for both of us. :)
The ring tone for my cell is the old fashion ring on the phone. Nice and loud and very distinct.

RE: nook..I have the 3G capability but once in a while I need to side load the book from my computer to my nook.
Should not have to do this but there it is..sigh.

Thanks to gifting myself with BN gifts cards I have developed an addiction to downloading.
It came to me like a divine revelation from God, that I should build a bookshelf via my nook and that I should be downloading enought books to fill these bookshelves.
I find myself downloading DRIVE TIME by Hank and DEAD EX by Harley even though I possess these in print form. I have STICKY FINGERS thanks to Nancy Martin and I must stop soon...maybe. Mother's Day is coming up and I must gift myself again.

Thank you Alan for the link..that is a very helpful site.

KAren, in Ohio, I have exactly that nightmare! Or the dial won't turn. Oh, I just realized..it's a dial..

And yeah, I have a flip phone, too. Prehistoric.

Oh, gosh. Help me, please.

I started toplay the above video just to make sure it worked.

My producer heard it, and said: "What song is that?"

Hank, the guy in the jalopy is surely using the first-ever car phone! lol

Durn, that Rock Hudson was hot!

No ring tone, Hank. I use the one that came with the phone. and I hate cell phones that have imitation phone rungers.

Karen, Rock Hundson in the movie Giant with Elizabeth Taylor was wonderful. James Dean was fabulous too..so sad that he also passed.

MArie, that clip is so fantastic...thank you!

Thanks, Hank!

Forgive me I cannot resist this link re: party line:


Just remembered the GE in our phone number stood for Geneva. Why oh why do I have a head full of useless trivia. Almost forgot I'm having dinner with a friend tonight but somewhere in my little mind something triggered Geneva.

The Nook Color also can only be charged with their USB. It has extra pins or something.

Jim Rockford's answering machine:


Now, back to my knitting..

I used to be able to mimic my mom's way of answering the phone - she had a distinctive way of saying hello and then I would let her friends chat away for a few minutes before saying "did you want to talk to my mom". Drove her nuts, which was the idea!

OH, Gaylin, good one!

Telephone solicitors always demand to talk to my parents because my voice is childlike.
My "parents" are going to be really surprised when they found out that I sold their timeshare in Tahiti for a mere two millions bucks half of what they paid for it in the the eighties.

OH, Marie, another terrific clip..xoox

(Heather, I feel your pain..so funny! But not back then, huh?)

Young children never forget the first phone number that was drilled into their uncluttered little brains. Ours was 9926. When I'm 97 and on my deathbed unable to remember my own name, I'll remember 9926.

MOntrose 6-5646 in Billerica. Party line. At three years old I couldn't figure out how to dial the letters, but I knew how to listen in on Mrs. Palmieri. Not that I was allowed or anything.

We started saying "landline" when we lived on our little ranch in Kelso Valley, CA. No phones that far up creek. When we needed to phone someone we either drove down to the Onyx Store or - if very lucky and there was no cloud cover - we were able to get someone on the CB. They would use a landline to call for us, relaying messages by radio.

Hugely fun post, Hank!

7-1942, private line

When I visited NYC in tenth grade, I thought it was strange to see the first two digits of a phone number as letters.

Now I have and love my iPhone, not so much for calls as for the Internet access.

Landline with Comcast. Caller ID makes it easy not to talk to unwanted phone callers. Number even pops up on TV if we're watching a show. Love caller ID! Hate talking on the phone.

You're completely nailed it. Most of us now hate it when the phone rings...grrrrr... "Who's calling to bother me NOW?" Numbers from my youth in New York: OWens3-1686, LYric1-8584.

Uhhh, that first word was supposed to be "you've" - not "you're." ... Yes, even a two sentence comment seems to require a mandatory spelling or typing mistake. Even if you read it through twice before hitting the submit key. Sigh.

My very first phone number? 779-0747. Yes you are right, you never forget it. I love my phone...but I control my phone, my phone does not control me. I have it on vibrate, and if I don't want to answer it, I don't. I rarely answer the landline; we only keep it for 911. Too nervous to get rid of it when I have little kids.

Andrea,I love the prefix LYric. It makes it sound as if what's coming next is going to be lovely, you know?

Lora, so wise of you! You must keep a landline for 911.

I am troubled that Clark Kent may soon not be able to find a phone booth to change into his Superman costume.
We need to find a solution..

Superman can live near me, there is a phone box 1 block from my place!

I can't remember my first phone number at all or the second one. The third one, yes I can - my mom still has it.

Gaylin, at first I thought you were inviting Superman to change at your house!

OH, Hank I am laughing so hard..Superman can change at My house anytime..We would soon find out if he is really super man!

Technology advancement affects the life of the citizens. With this, they feel free now of doing anything they want. Technology can be advantageous but also harmful. As times goes by, you will noticed the advancement of products.

Hank, good idea, does Superman houseclean?

Well, Gaylin, he's Superman, right? So I'd say--of course!

And Marie...I hope you're blushing. xoxo

Night, everyone! xxoox

Hank, dutifully blushing here.
Good night, Hank, Good Night Gaylin , Good night Pa, Goodnight, Ma, Goodnight John-Boy.

It's going to be for you. No, I reply, It is not! RING RING!

there was something wrong with you when the calls didn't come.

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