Medical/Technical My Home Social

“Number, Please”

Many consumers are not impressed by the endless tricks and functions manufacturers keep adding to cell phones. They just want a sturdy phone that's easy to use.

You will want to read the entire Digg story.


I can't remember for sure, but I believe one of my aunts who lived in Arkansas had a wall-mounted crank style telephone. I have a vague memory of being in someone's home and watching them wind up a telephone and speaking into the black mouth piece, while holding a separate part of the phone to their ear. Those phones are cherished now, and provide a significant look into the earlier days of our homes and our community life.

In our home, we had one black telephone. It sat on our desk, and when we were ready to use it, we lifted the receiver and waited for the operator to say, "Number, please." I recall that our telephone number was 24555, no prefix, no area code, merely 24555. We really didn't use our phone that much, and I have no memory of hanging out on the phone with any friends. During those days, there were many people who had no telephone and sometimes a neighbor would come over and ask to use ours. People who lived in the country often had party lines, so that more than one family utilized the same telephone line. They could pick up the receiver and listen in on someone else's conversation. Lots of jokes about that, and probably many people did eavesdrop, quietly snickering and gasping at what they heard.

Later, our telephone company went to a dial system, but I believe our number stayed the same. The new telephone the company provided for us looked just like the old one–black and squatty–except that now it had a dialing apparatus on the front of it. Not push buttons–a dial. Took quite a while to initiate a call, for each number required a finger to be inserted in the circle, then the dial wound to its zenith, and on to the next number.

Probably sometime in the early 50s, colored, slim, push-button telephones became available. Princess phones, they were called and they were quite desirable. Oh, you could still have the plain black model for free, but if you wanted a pretty one, you had to buy it….

And so the progression to where we are today, telephones everywhere. Some time back, I visited friends who live in a swanky house and when I went into the bathroom, lo and behold, there was a telephone. Now, I'm accustomed to seeing telephones in hotel bathrooms–the thinking being, I suppose–that you are probably there on business–in the hotel, I mean, not in the bathroom–and it would be unthinkable to be out of range of a phone for more than a few seconds. But, I have never before nor since, seen a telephone in the bathroom of a private home. I giggled as I emerged and asked my friend about it. "Oh, yes, hubby does lots of telephone work in there," she said. Beats me.

Not long ago, I saw a family cartoon: The telephone was ringing, everyone was scurrying around to find the portable phone which had been taken from its cradle. A boy stood in the middle of the commotion and said, "Looks like someone could invent a phone that could be tied to one place." Well, we've run the gamut, from a wall-mounted cranker, to a black squatty "number, please", to a dial model, tied down ones, portable ones, cell phones…into an explosion of telephones everywhere…in our purses, garages, airplanes, and automobiles. Children have one, and be assured the drivers on freeways will always have telephones planted onto the sides of their heads. No one gives a second look to people who walk around with antennas poking up from their heads, or things curled around their ears. The air is punctuated with fancy ring tones, symphonies playing, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, a certain sound from Mama, another from Daddy, ascending scales, and deep basement music.

Funny thing. For years in our home, we had the one black telephone, never had a problem with it, we never called the phone company to complain about our service, and no repairman ever came to check on our instrument. Now in this great age of advancement and enlightenment, many decades down the road, I cannot tell you how much money we have spent on telephones in the last few years, how many times we have changed carriers, the many frustrating conversations we have had over service, the complexity of the billing statements, dropped calls, worn out telephones, charging cords that fit only one type phone, so of course you must buy a new one…

Oh, well, I must stop this rambling. Out and about with errands today. My Verizon phone is at full charge and Jerry and I will stay in touch. This evening when I approach 40th St., I will call to say, "I'm starting up the mountain now." Jerry will be happy.

Tags: telephones, Verizon, cellphones, dial telephones, crank telephones, "number, please"

read more | digg story

By Shirley Buxton

Still full of life and ready to be on the move, Shirley at 83 years old feels blessed to have lots of energy and to be full of optimism. She was married to Jerry for 63 years, and grieves yet at his death in August of 2019. They have 4 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren...all beautiful and highly intelligent--of course. :)

15 replies on ““Number, Please””

[…] Somewhere in a drawer in this house is a smart phone–a Blackberry. Jerry had quite an experience with it which I post about here. The original post of Jerry and the Blackberry has received more than 80,000 hits. You’ll probably want to take a look. Β  I also have written about changes in telephone services since I was a child here and in this one titled Number Please. You might get a kick out of them. […]


Quills, I loved reading your comment. Dreams are funny are they not. They say that sometimes dreams represent our working out our problems. Phone problems? Can’t be worked out. I’m with you about life: it’s a great journey.

Nick, glad you came by, and I’ll check out your new site.

Mandylea, Maynard, Arkansas. It’s a very small town in the northern part of the state. I grew up in Springfield, Mo. and it wasn’t too far from us. It was a treat for us to go there. They lived on a small farm, and one thing we always did when we went for a visit was try to milk the cows. I never could get much milk out.

Thanks to all of you for coming by and for commenting. Please come often.


Shirley , I really enjoy reading your blog posts…but felt the urge to respond to this old time…modern time phone … thought.
We had one of those black phones at home when I was a kid…4 numbers, party line, loud ring, always working connection to the “real world”.Us kids would race to see who could answer it first when it rang…me & my 3 brothers.It didn’t ring much when it did it was always something important….my mother had a large family of brothers and sisters so it was usually one of them.
When I got older..I went to work for Ma 1965, and moved away from my childhood home….and a few years later ..I can’t remember the year …. Princess phones came out and the telephone company offered employees a special package of phones and extra connections …and I soon had a home with 3 phones in it…..something so convinient and just a few years earlier ..unimaginable.They were even more Black for me.
That was years ago….now I have 2 regular phones, one with a answer machine in it…and just got a cell phone… that will not work…. until I drive at least 3 miles from my house….I am in a dead zone. I am on a privately owned small telephone co..(in rural Iowa)…line….so I cannot get many of the services most folks take for granted..and things like Internet service are more expensive and more limited…High speed is 50 bucks minimum….too expensive for my blood. I do not remember haveing so many telephone related problems in my youth….My friends down the road have one of those cordless jobs , they are always misplacing….and hunting for. She have even come over and said call me when I get home so I can find the portable phone. LOL!!!
And every now and again….I still have this dream..that I used to have back when I worked for Ma Bell…the phone is ringing….I hear it ring in my dream…but I just cannot move…to get to it to answer it… is such a funny feeling…and I wake up..totally imersed in this helpless feeling…that life was a lot simpler before all these gadgets we have nowadays filled our life wirh complicationsand clutter. But…..would not trade the trip they have taken me on …for the world. πŸ™‚


FYI, there now exists a product called the “Dock ‘n Talk”. You buy an old fashioned, plug-it-into-the-wall phone…and buy the Dock ‘n Talk and plug your cell phone and the old fashioned phone into and and voila!!! You now have a “docked” phone that is actually running on your cell phone’s connection.

The arguments for this include: 1)it’s easier to hold
2)The sound quality is better
3)can be located where the cell phone signal in your home is the best

Any day now they are going to come up with a tv without remote capability. “Watch TV and get exercise at the same time!! Get up and change channels! Get up and change the volume! The NEW “Get Up and Go Television”!”

I think I need to do a blog about this.



I do remember many of these phones that you talked about, so I guess I must be getting up there in years. πŸ™‚ Thanks for your kind comments on my blog. I love and appreciate you.



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