For most of my childhood, our phone was more like “furniture art” than an actual full-functioning phone. It was a sort of slate-blue with the ‘new’ push buttons rather than rotary style and it had no dial tone.
I can understand that when the money is gone, the phone is the first to go. As I always say, it really wasn’t a big deal to me most years. In fact, whenever we actually had a working phone, it was a treat; something we appreciated!….of course, I didn’t have anyone to call and no one ever called me but if I picked up the handle,- I got tone. And if I pushed the numbers in the right order, I could play “Mary had a little lamb” but I’d have to hang up right away in case “Mary” answered and lived in Sweden or something. I have a fuzzy memory of dialing random numbers one time and talking to a very nice lady on the other end…(mom, do you remember that? Or was that entirely without your knowledge?) 🙂
Like all things, the phone issue started to matter once I hit Jr. high. Every girl talked on the phone for hours on end. One time, when it really mattered, our phone worked. My total BFF at the time (I mentioned ‘lizzy’ once – she was the one crushing on the PE teacher and paid me a quarter to talk to him every day), well her older brother died from cancer and I talked to her on the phone, for what felt like, a long time but in actuality was probably only a couple of minutes…; a difficult and meaningful conversation. I remember leaning on God to help me be a good friend over the phone to my mourning buddy. My ear was burning at the end of the conversation (probably because I was tight-fisting the phone, not wanting to say the wrong thing).
By the time High school rolled around the on again/off again phone situation was problematic because it was evidence that we couldn’t afford to pay our bills and you can only use the “something must be wrong with the phone company” excuse so many times.
When I married, we moved enough early on that we had to keep changing our number which took me back to those days when I was insecure, telling people we changed our number, AGAIN! Even though we had a valid reason, I hated telling friends that we changed our number. I would try as hard as I could to keep our number in the move but we were never able to do that. When I got my first cell phone – about 12 years ago or more, I got a killer number. It was back when you could choose your last 4-digits and to top it off, I got a great prefix number to boot! I’ve changed providers several times but have always kept my number. It’s so silly to get a sense of stability and “success” from a phone number, but the poor, little, rich, white Mexican does.
My 8 year old just asked me when he was going to be allowed to have a cell phone. Oh! How times have changed. You all know me well enough now to know that I resist indulging my kids in perks just because everyone else gets them…my daughter got her cell phone this year as a 7th grader. I think I held out pretty long, (considering). I actually would have gone longer if I hadn’t become “that parent” who kept forgetting to pick up her kids from school! It’s not her fault that I ‘spoiled’ her with a phone at 12 ½ years of age. It was necessity!