When Phones Stayed at Home

Phones are an interesting device. During this time of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders, they provide a vital link to our family and friends. Video chat, texting and even talking give us the next best thing to being with someone. Our phones have become a vital link to information and people around the world. It’s hard for me to remember when phones, not people, were under a stay-at-home order.

It seems so long ago, but then again it was a long time ago when I was still in grade school. In those days the phone was a fixture in the home. You could never lose your phone because it was tethered to a land line. Our phone sat on its own little table like a piece of art in the dining room in full view of everyone. Which also made it difficult to have a private conversation. That made it rough being a teenager.

When my older sisters received a call from a boyfriend, us younger siblings just couldn’t help but want to listen in. What saved them from embarrassment was the long cord on the phone that allowed them to take it into a closet for privacy. Of course that privacy was often enforced by my mom guarding the closet door to keep us away while she listened in.

In those days when you left home you left the phone behind. We didn’t even have an answering machine so no one could leave a message when they called while we were gone. When we did answer the phone, no one wondered about our location because the phone and it’s number were tied to the house.

Now it seems phones are connected to people no matter where they are located — which for many of us now means being homebound. Which makes me grateful we are able to connect with people with our phones in ways that were not possible a few decades ago.

© 2020 CGThelen

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