Rotary Phones ~ Flashback FridayApril 18, 2014 - Author: Kelly
I’ve been fixing the house up to get it in “show” condition and up for sale. It always takes more time than you think to do these things. It seems like it’s just a million little things.
Sydney, Dave and I were just chatting before Syd went off to bed when I mentioned to Dave…”we need a new phone for the wall in the kitchen.”
”Lets get one that actually attaches to the wall and won’t walk off like all the cordless ones seem to,” he said.
”How about if I get an old Rotary phone?” I said already thinking about how cute it would look on the wall.
“What’s a rotary phone?” Sydney piped up.
I laughed, “it’s one of the old phones you dial with your finger, you know..” I prodded.
“Ohhhhhh,” she said as the picture grew clearer. “Those things look so confusing!”
Now Dave and I were laughing. “It’s a simple machine Syd,” I tried to explain. “You just do one thing. Dial the numbers.”
“But how do you know where to stop or which way to go with it?” She asked all innocent and totally serious.
”It’s not like a combination lock Syd, you put you finger in the hole and turn it.”
”But what’s in the holes?” She was almost begging for an answer.
”Nothing!” Dave laughed.
“You just put your finger in the hole and dial!” I tried.
“Ok but what is INSIDE the holes?” she asked again.
”Your dialing finger!” I said. “So it was really important not to break your dialing finger!”
We both explained how the dial stop worked and after the light went on for Syd she felt pretty silly.
Apparently kids these days have no idea what rotary phones were. I found this clip while searching for a picture of a rotary dial phone.
“Yeah, we only had one phone line and if you called your friend and they were already talking on the phone you just had to wait…you got a busy tone.” I went on.
“Wow. That would suck!” Syd admitted. “Well what if they weren’t home?”
“Well nothing, you just called back later.”
“Right and if your parents were on the phone, none of your friends could call until the line was open and nobody was using it.” Dave explained.
“My girlfriends and I used to have to call the operator and ask them to make an emergency breakthrough.” I laughed heartily remembering that.
I told Syd, “if my BF’s line was busy, I’d call the operator and this was how it went:
“Hello, operator? I’d like to make an emergency breakthrough call.”
“What number would you like to try?” The voice always asked in a monotone. We were never quite sure if the operator was a real person.
“Then you’d give her the phone number (343 – 6348) and the operator would say, “who may I tell them is calling?”
“It’s Dr. Hurts office and I’ve got test results!” I’d say all sing songy.
I could always hear her break into the call and relay the message. The bad part was if your friend wasn’t on the phone and it was her mom or dad. Then the operator would come back and say something like, “I’m sorry but they refuse to drop the line at this time.”
Normally, she’d return and say, “your party will drop the line, you may try your call again. Have a great day and thank you for using Southwestern Bell.”
Those were the days, my friend.
Keep it Real!
”How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” Satchel Paige
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