Oh My, I’m Old!

After last night’s fiasco at the grocery store, my 16-year-old daughter was flabbergasted at the thought of not having a cell phone… like in the “olden days” when I was a teen. 

She asked incredulously, “What would you have done in this situation when you were 16???” 

Wise Old Mom (me) replied, “I would have used the store’s phone at customer service.”  (no big deal!)

16yo:  “What would you have done if you ran out of gas??????”  (wide eyes at the thought of the stranded situation)

WOM:  “Walked to a gas station and used the pay phone.”

16yo:  “What if there wasn’t a pay phone?”

WOM: “When I was a teen EVERY gas station had a pay phone, as well as all shopping malls and even some street corners.”

16yo:  “What if you didn’t have any money to use the pay phone?”

WOM: “I would call home collect.”

16yo:  “What is collect?”  (Oh, the generation gap was widening in my mind….)

WOM: “It’s when you call the operator and ask for a collect call to be placed.  They ask for your name and then call the number you gave.  When someone answered they would say, “Do you accept a collect call from Linda?”  And when they said yes, we would talk.”

16yo: “Are there still operators?”

WOM: “I think there are.”

Following that unimaginable conversation, I told her about my college dorm that had one pay phone for 36 girls to share.  She couldn’t believe it!  She asked who would answer it, what we did when we had to use it and it was busy, how our parents left messages, how much it cost to call from Canada to California, and was basically in a state of shock that I lived such an archaic life.

I didn’t feel like she was quite ready to handle stories of her dad’s teen years with party lines…. I’m saving that for another day.

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7 Responses to “Oh My, I’m Old!”

  1. morethananelectrician Says:

    Poor operators might be out of work.

  2. Jennie C. Says:

    Oh yeah, the good old days. And I also experienced those party lines. Good times.

  3. rixgal Says:

    Not only party lines but a 19 mile trip to the nearest town with a school.

  4. "Dad" Says:

    Oops! Looks like Linda was the last one on my computer looking at her blog.
    My comment: Not only party lines but a 19 mile trip to the nearest town with a school.

  5. Stan and Val Rober Says:

    A lot of pleasant reminders to be sure. If fact, as hard as I try, I cannot remember a phone in the little house where I lived from first grade thru junior high school. Sure do remember the ice box and the wood box on the back porch, the kitchen stove that heated the water for a bath (Sat. night), and the front room wood heater so warm and homey in the winter.

  6. Lois Says:

    I really enjoy your blog. I found it about a year ago and bookmarked it. My 15 yod organized my bookmarks for me, and here I am again. I remember dialing 0 for operator, and having to keep a long distance call to Grandma to 3 minutes. My son was researching favorite inventions, and he discovered the cell phone was introduced in 1979 in Japan. That’s when I was in college. I used to write letters home, and the phone call home was a rare treat. I used a manual typewriter for my term papers. (What? No spell check? What if you made a mistake? Ever heard of white out?) Oh, and we used to travel 30 miles to the nearest public library. Yes, our kids don’t know what it was like in the good old days!

  7. rixgal Says:

    Lois, I’m glad you’re back. We are from the same era….. the good ol’ days!

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