Friday, November 25, 2016

Cheryl Bolen Askes: So Who Still Has a Land Line?

My son and his girlfriend told me today that no one under the age of fifty has a land line for phone service anymore. They’re probably right. I know two of my siblings—both of whom are over 50—have a land line but haven’t answered that phone for many, many years. They only answer their cell phones. I suppose they keep the landline because it’s tied to their internet. I really ought to ask them.

Needless to say, neither of my grown children would consider ever having a land line. My son’s sweet girlfriend narrated a story about a friend’s eight-year-old child. Her parents, being under fifty, have never in the child’s life had a phone for which a cord was attached. However the child, who had taken many cruises with her parents, recognized the old-style phone as something that could be found in their cabins aboard ship. While staying at a hotel recently, the child spied one of those big phones on the bedside table and remarked, “I thought those were only used to call the ship’s captain!”

My, but times change. And so do phones.

A couple of weeks back my friend and I were touring a Houston neighborhood that was established a hundred years ago. One of the newly restored houses retained the old telephone alcove in the hallway. My friend asked, “How did those big, old phones fit on those slender shelves?” I answered that until the early 1950s home phones were those “pole style” like this:
Phone alcove from 1920-1940s
I still remember the thrill of having the option of getting colored phones and getting my own land-line number and shiny new red phone when I was 18. When a guy would ask for my phone number, I’d tell him it was “the hot line.”

This is what I got when I was 18. I had my own number!
And remember how big those first cell phones were? And remember those wall-mounted phones? Who remembers the desirability of getting a long cord so you could walk around while on the phone? I cooked many a dinner while yakking on the phone, courtesy of the long, coiled cord.

On the subject of phones, who still keeps phone books? I used to have a whole cupboard for them, but now I find everything online. The drastic change in phones makes for a lot less worry. Women driving at night know that help’s just a button away if there’s car trouble—or any kind of trouble. And what a comfort it is for parents to know their kids will never be farther than a phone call away.

Progress is good, but one does hate some aspects of, like the demise of the newspaper industry.

To answer my initial question, yes, I still have a land line. I love my iPhone, but as a writer who sits at her desk all day, that desktop phone is still my go-to phone. And it never has to be charged.


  1. Lol we got cell phones a few years ago and discontinued the land line but kept the phone where it was for about a month. Separation anxiety.

  2. Haha. Great post. We still have a landline but it rarely gets used and I expect it will be retired soon. It seems the only calls are solicitors so it rarely gets answered. If it's a legit call the VM kicks in so fast I usually can't reach it in time, then my cell starts to ring.

    1. Since I am at my desk (in my house) all day, I ask those who know me best to always call the landline. My cell phone stays in my purse--which is never near my desk.

  3. Okay...both my grown dds have landlines. One of whom got one within the last 2 years! Go figure. We call them on the landline...we use ours regularly. Our cell phone is not a smart's old and only used occasionally.

    The thing about everyone having a cell phone is the demise of the incidental conversation. By that I mean, if I call the landline and my SILs answer I get to chat with them. Without the landline, I'd never really catch up with them. Incidental conversations can keep us in touch and I'd miss them if they disappeared.

    1. If you can get by without a smart phone, Bonnie, you must be working hard at your career! Are your daughters, per chance, stay-at-home moms? They sound like a rare breed to me!

  4. We have a landline and my husband still uses it quite a bit. One of our kids has one, too--we live in the country and our cell reception is occasionally iffy. We still have one of those pole-type phones. The kids used to take the kitchen phone with its long cord into the laundry room and talk for hours--we called the room the phone booth. I still have my phone books, but admit to not using them very often.

  5. We have a land line. We do not have smart phones. We use it quite a bit. It is bundled in our TV and internet so it is not really an expense.

  6. We still have 2 land lines--actual land lines not VOIP. One is at our Houston townhouse and is used mainly to open the gate at the entrance. The other is at our house in the country because the cell service is iffy.


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