Ringy dingy

One of my PACNW blahggy friends Margaret posted a pic of her mom’s old phone. At first I was thinking The Commander had a phone like that at the end of her life but then I realized The Comm’s was probably quite a bit newer. (To be clear, Margaret’s mom is alive and kicking!)

We also helped The Comm buy an iPhone in those years, at her request. I was especially happy that she was able to learn to text because phone convos in the last couple years often felt like we were in the twilight zone.

One of the problems with the iPhone was that the GG thoughtfully, with honorable intentions, set her iPhone ring tone to AN OLD-FASHIONED TELEPHONE RING! Just like the phones in her house. So of course she couldn’t always tell which phone was ringing…

Well, lots of stories about all that but it all got me thinking about those old square black dial phones that a whole lotta people don’t remember these days. We had two of those in our shabby little Superior St. bungalow in Sault Ste. Siberia, one upstairs and one down.

We didn’t have a telephone at all at the moomincabin. That didn’t bother me one bit as a kid. If I wanted to play with my cuzzints and friends, I just ran down the beach or the path behind the cabins and banged through their door. Kids (and adults) were welcome anywhere without knocking in those days (and they are still welcome at the moomincabin without knocking, but not bears).

But then I grew up a bit and Bad Boyfriend came into the picture. He couldn’t call me at the moomincabin because we didn’t have a phone. So… Our routine became that, when he got off work in the afternoon (at the Soo Big Boy restaurant), I would go next door to my aunt and uncle’s cabin and call him. They had a phone — an old square black one — because my unc was a doc and needed to have a phone for when he was on call. He also had his phone connected to an amplifier or whatever so he could hear it if he was on the beach or wherever. We would hear that ring in the middle of the night and shortly after would hear him start up his T-bird. (Often it was to deliver a baby but I’m sure there was plenty of other worse stuff.) I have to say that loud ring was never a problem for me. It was somehow a comforting part of my life.

But calling Bad BF from my uncle’s phone was always stressful for me for a myriad of reasons. I was nervous about asking (every day!) to use their phone even though they were ALWAYS GRACIOUS about it! I was nervous about calling a BOY, even though we were “going steady” and I was wearing his “ring”, a big thing with an Indian head on it, yarn-wrapped so it would fit my small finger like we did in those days. And then I was nervous because it was a party line. Sometimes I couldn’t call because somebody else was on it. I’m not sure if it ever crossed my mind that people might be listening in on US. Not that we were saying anything salacious. I was (and am) a TERRIBLE phone conversationalist.

I won’t go much farther about Bad Boyfriend for now. He isn’t a bad person but we weren’t right for each other and we were very young. He came to his senses first and I came to my senses eventually.

P.S. Here we are umpteen gazillion years later and Jamadots is installing fiber optic at the moomincabin. We don’t even have that here on The Planet Ann Arbor.

3 Responses to “Ringy dingy”

  1. Jay Says:

    Not having a telephone (for many years) or a TV made the Cabin what it was.
    And we have an old square dial telephone in our house now. And it works, although it doesn’t usually ring. We put it in the bedroom, so it doesn’t jolt you out of bed, but is there to answer if somebody calls the landline – and we decide to answer.

  2. Margaret Says:

    I’m a pretty good conversationalist in person, but NOT on the phone. Especially these days. I have an old-fashioned looking rotary phone in my bedroom (it was Patt’s) I don’t remember ever thinking about phones as a child. We all ran around outside and hung out in the neighborhood. Now I have mine constantly. Someone told me I would eventually use it as my camera, and I scoffed. She was right/you were right.

  3. Tonya Watkins Says:

    I realize I was pretty much an early adopter of new technology. (Had my first computer in 1992). Once I had a cell phone, I saw NO NEED to have a land line, so I got rid of it. (I don’t think we’ve had one since the early aughts). What I recall was that it would ring a lot and it was ALWAYS telemarketers. Getting rid of it nipped THAT in the bud!