I grew up with a phone you had to dial.
We had a “party line.” This meant we shared a phone line with another person. If you picked up the phone and heard someone talking, you had to wait until they were finished before you could make your call.
When the phone rang once, it was for us. If it was two quick rings, it was for the other person on our party line.
If you wanted to talk to someone, who lived out of your area, you had to call the “long distance operator” and get them to put you through. You had to pay extra for every long distance call you made.
If you could not afford to pay for the call or you were calling from a public phone, you could call “collect.” The operator would put the call through and ask the person on the other end if they would accept the call and pay for it. If they said yes, she would put the call through. If not, she would tell the caller she was sorry, but she could not complete the call.
If you did not know someone’s phone number, you could call the operator and ask her (usually a “her”) and she would look it up for you.
If you requested information more than a certain number of times per month, you had to pay extra.
There was a very important book called “the phone book,” that had everyone’s name and number in it (locally).
The phone was attached to the wall by a cord. It was possible to have the “telephone man” come and put a longer cord on the phone, so you could walk around a little bit while you talked.
When I was older, my parents got something that was considered pure luxury. They got an “extension” phone. This was a second phone, so we could make and receive calls in two different rooms of the house.
It was wonderful because one of us could listen on one phone and another listen on the other. We marveled at how modern things were becoming.
In big cities, they had public phones in little booths on the street. They were called phone booths. You could go in and put your money (coins) into slots to be able to use the phone. If you were going to make a “long distance” call, you still had to go through an operator and she would tell you how much money to deposit to be able to make your call.
You always had to keep some “spare change” with you, in case you might have to make a call.
Today I would not think of going a few feet without my cell phone. I call and text around the world. I play games on my phone. I look up information. I take pictures. I post them on social media.
When I was thinking about the old days, I realized you young folks might have no clue what it was really like to live “way back then.”
So I thought I would share. There are still some of us old enough to remember. I like our present day life much more than the old days. But then again, I was quite satisfied then.
Wonder what the next years will bring that will cause future generations to marvel at how old fashioned we were in 2023?