The Rotary Phone Cord is No More

Recently my mom passed away after almost a 2 year stretch in hospice care. Since then I have been back to my childhood home several times in the last few months. My mom was fine with things in her house and made very few changes to it over the time. In fact she still has 2 rotary dial phones in the house. Seeing those for the first time in a long time brought up many memories of the past.

In high school I was limited on the amount of time I could speak on the home phone. My parents were always worried that they were missing important calls. As a result, I was limited to an hour a night on the home phone. For much of my youth, I was forced to talk on that rotary dial phone in the kitchen with the attached cord. You know the kind that gets all tangled up as you walk around. Also there is the privacy thing when my mom and dad were in the other room able to hear everything I was saying. Finally I was able to convince my parents to get me a cordless phone that allowed me to be in my room talking with my high school sweetheart who lucky for me, is now my wife.

Times sure have changed! As of 6 months ago, we don’t even have a home phone anymore in our house. Not once did we have to limit our kids speaking to their friends on our home phone. I had all these great ideas on how I would handle the time constraints on the home phone with a growing family. Well when our kids were old enough to have conversations with friends, the cell phone became the new way to communicate. The only calls to our home phone were telemarketing calls.

Believe me I have totally embraced the cell phone. I am always interested in the newest app to download or to send quick texts to the kids while they are at school. If I can’t find my smart phone, I start to panic and the whole family stops what they are doing to help me find my life line. It isn’t just a phone for me as our family schedule, all my contacts, all my important financial logins and family photos are stored there. I don’t go anywhere with out it. I even take it to the bathroom with me. I am sure I am not alone. I have lost my phone before and it was really hard to recover and function until it had been replaced.

The cost of having these phones for the family is quite expensive but couldn’t imagine our life with out them. With 3 of our kids now out of the house pretty much full time, it is the way we keep in touch. Number 3 texts me most days and with him just starting his freshman year in college, I am getting some emotional calls as well. Number 1 has started her first job, which have led to calls and questions about adult stuff like benefits and car insurance. I would love to say I have gotten calls from Number 2 but that just doesn’t happen. I occasionally ask her to update her Snapchat or Instagram story so I can follow what is going on in her life on my own phone, but that is hit or miss. She knows we are always there for her if she ever needs us and I guess that will have to be good enough for me.

I am very happy with the cell phone and the benefits given to all of us from its use. There is one thing I hate about them. When a call comes in and it is from one of those numbers programmed into your phone, those calls from the kids that you are not expecting. The first thing that runs through my mind is always…What happened to them? Did they get into an accident? Are they injured in need of medical attention? In those moments I have to take a deep breath and be ready for anything from the other end. Mostly it’s just “Hi Dad!” I have gotten the other calls and they are not too fun but I know how to switch into that Dad Mode and be the support they need.

Phones have changed over time. Although I can be overly attached to mine sometimes, I have no desire to go back to that rotary dial phone or the attached cord that goes with it. Being tied down to conversations in my kitchen doesn’t work for me or my family in our ZagZig world. That doesn’t mean that at times I don’t think back to a simpler way of life. But in the end, my family doesn’t need a cord attached to know how connected I am to them.

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© 2017 Kori Reed and Mike Becker. All Rights Reserved.  |  authors@reedimagine.com