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Party Lines

There isn’t much that I know about video games and when it comes to Facebook, I use it mostly to see pictures of the grand-kids. Concerning the internet, I am a complete “eye roll” to my kids and grand-kids. Wii, Xbox, wireless routers, printers, scanners, gigabytes, and downloaded apps are a mystery to me. The most aggravating things are “passwords”. Our passwords need passwords in order to protect our “passwords”.

I’m from a simpler time, the era of dial tones, manual typewriters and ten foot telephone cords all knotted up and dangling from the wall phone in the kitchen. “Back in the day”, if one wanted privacy while on the phone, he or she would sit in the coat closet and shut the door. Now, no one speaks, they thumb type, so no one ever hears a voice. Once upon a time, one phone per house was plenty. Now, everyone in the house has a cell phone, maybe two.

We had four kids, so our one telephone was pretty busy. Fortunately, one of the greatest innovations in the history of the world came along, it was… “call waiting”. In our house, that beep was not to be ignored, because my husband used the phone for business. Our kids would have talked for hours on the phone were it not for that simple invention.

Perhaps some of you remember party lines. Much like Facebook today, party lines allowed every neighbor on the block to know your business. Each house on the line had their own personal ring, so everybody knew when their neighbor was getting a call.

If one didn’t want the whole town to know what was going on in one’s life, one best not repeat it on the phone. Today all we have to do is turn on our computer to know what our neighbors are up to. Google is all knowing.

In today’s world we don’t have to remember phone numbers. I don’t even know my own cell phone number. There was a day when I could dial telephone numbers from memory. Everybody knew everybody’s telephone number by heart. I recall my Aunt Helen’s phone number from my early childhood…2564R in Greeley, Colorado.

Our number, when we moved to Princeton was (and still is) 5-1500. Over the years, prefixes were added. First came, “87”, then “815”, then “1-815-875 etc”. In case you are wondering, that would be the “land line” number.

Out of necessity, I have learned to “text”. Just about the time I learned to email, everyone began to text. So, in order to communicate with family and friends, it became a necessary evil. I will admit that texting has its advantages; because we have family “groups”, we can all join in the conversation at once. Truth be known, I really enjoy that. It’s sort of like an updated version of the old fashion “party line”.

See, nothing is new under the sun. I can hear Andy Taylor now, “Hello Sarah? Get me Barney.”.


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