Phone Trash


 Aging & Attitude

   Remember being a nine-year old and selecting a number from the telephone book; dialing the number and addressing the party by name, Mr. or Mrs. Smith, to ask; “Is your refrigerator running?” When the reply was “Yes,” I delivered the gem of a retort, “Well, you better go catch it,” and hung up the phone doubled over in laughter with a room full of my closest friends.

That was summer fun in 1957. That and playing Gin Rummy under a weeping willow tree or collecting discarded cigarette butts from the gutter to smoke after straightening them out.

Phone trash became more sophisticated in 1962. We lived in Hensonville, N.Y. and had a party line. Our number was two digit, eight -seven; an operator much like Lillian Tomlin on Laugh-In connected you to the party to whom you spoke. A telephone hullabaloo erupted when my boyfriend, Ronnie King, wrote my brother’s girlfriend, Lillian St. Claire, a hand written letter, saying he would give her a ring when he came upstate for the summer. He stuffed the letter in an envelope and glued a three-cent stamp in the right hand corner. Ron meant he would call her on the telephone but Lillian, a drama queen, used the line out of context to set the Windham Ashland Jewett High School reeling and all party lines smoking.

Today phone trash is real a dilemma I experienced when all four phones in our home displayed the prompt, still connecting. Since the batteries had recently been replaced, I gave it time, and waited until 10:30 PM to contact the Bright House customer service line.  A recorded message said, “Most problems can be corrected by pushing the reset button on the “Box.”  Crawling under a desk equipped with a flashlight and cake tester to reset did not work, and consequently used my cell telephone to speak with a live person.

An hour conversation determined an on-site visit is needed and someone would be out between three and five pm the next day. I had inadvertently reset the router box and now did not have wireless internet service as well. It is now after midnight.

Promptly at three PM, the doorbell rang and to make a long story short, after testing all equipment the technician determined I needed new phones. It was likely the power pack was faulty and more unlikely I would be able to buy one. I had to go shopping.

A day and a half later, we had land line service. I am still working on the internet.

Here is the dilemma, what to do with the four telephones, four new batteries, one answering device, three phone docks and one power pack that might possible work.

  • Donate to  Goodwill
  • Sell on Craigslist
  • Convince my neighbor she needs them for her grandkids to play house.
  • Save the four batteries, (although they do not fit my new phones someone I know might have phones they do).
  • Throw everything in the garbage and pray Zero Waste blogger, Jen, does not haunt my dreams.
  • None of the above and have a suggestion to leave in comment box                                                                                                                                                                                   ….just saying

14 thoughts on “Phone Trash

  1. As you appear to be about ten years younger than me, I can safely say that I can strongly relate to everything you’ve said in this post, feel warm inside that somebody else still remembers these things. I still remember our first telephone, which hung on the wall, with a microphone that was affixed about five feet off the floor, and with an earpiece that was on the end of a cord. We had an operator you could talk to, and had to crank a handle to ring the operator. I remember the party lines, where everyone snooped on the line to see who was saying what to whom.

    Your current problem is damned near identical to the one we experienced about a year ago when we finally dumped the local telephone company in favor of going on Brighthouse’s telephone service. I got tired of Century Link telling us every time we had telephone troubles that the problem was likely inside my house, in which case they would have to charge us to clear up the problem. So, I whole-heartedly gave them the heave-ho. Since then, they have come to me on bended knee several times to get me to reconsider. My, how sweet revenge can be!


  2. What does one do with all these phones and their paraphanelia? We just keep saving them in all sorts of desk drawers.

    Thanks for the memories by the way.


  3. So simple is my life. No TV, no cell phones, only one landline. The internet service  in my area is atrocious and cannot be improved upon so you either live with it or drive 20 miles RT to town and go to the library.I just try to keep it simple.                       nena



  4. Brighthouse sounds like it’s way too complicated and they are trying to get more money from their customers. My phone company isn’t like that at all. If I lived where you do, I’d change too.


  5. Thanks for the memory.I’d like to give you a “ring” sometime but having narrowly escaped your brother’s wrath many years ago don’t want to chance it ain with Mr. Wonderful.Give him my best. Ronnie King


  6. The solution seems obvious to me, This the perfect opportunity to have a neighborhood get together. You simply make a flyer to stick in your neighbors doors saying please come to our “Bonfire of the Phone Vanities”! Admission is simply opening up your “useless don’t know what to do with these old phones” drawer and bringing it’s contents with you to our bonfire on Saturday @ ….


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