The Land Line: Saying Goodbye

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“Time to give up the land line,” Cliff announced. “We don’t need to pay double for phone service.”

Give the land line?

Our phone number for thirty years?

Say you don’t mean it!

The calls I took:

From my brother: “Barb, Dad just died.”

From my daughter: “Hi! He’s born. His name is Mazen.”

From my editor: “Barbara, we want to publish your picture book.”

The calls I made:

To my husband: “There’s water pouring down from the guest room ceiling. Will you come home? Fast!”

To the doctor: “My daughter fell out of her crib. I can’t get her to stop crying.”

To my Mom: “Laura decided on a wedding dress. It’s gorgeous!”

And if I could have a penny for every minute I spent as  a young mom on that line, I’d be able to buy my own phone company. That line was a lifeline, especially after I got my first portable phone. I scrubbed bathtubs, sorted out toy baskets, and baked birthday cakes (delicious ones by kid standards) while chatting away on that number.

So give up my land line?

919-732-3108?

I gave it up.

You can tell because I just wrote the number on the Internet.

Here it is again:  919-732-3108.

Gone.

My grief surprised Cliff. In fact, he had the number “frozen” for a month, I guess in case I didn’t recover.

And I haven’t.

I still miss 919-732-3108.

But hey, I still miss kindergarten art on the refrigerator and our first cat.

Time mellows loss.

With the money we save, maybe we can, among other projects, repaint the guest room. That water left some nasty spots, and by golly, it’s only been twenty-some years.

What about you?

Have any of you given up your land line?

Emotion?

Photo: One of our first phones. I’m still amazed the cords stayed curled on those old phones. My hair sure won’t do that.

Further Information on the Flood: A hot water heater in an upstairs bedroom broke and sent gallons of water through the ceiling. (The bedroom used to be an apartment kitchen.)

An Observation: I find I no longer want to talk on the phone like I did as a young woman. What about you?

31 responses »

  1. Keeping our landline as a back-up for times when the networks are flooded. Also collect old phones and like their appearance (we even have an English phone booth in our house). 🙂

    • Thanks! I do miss the larger phone though, for chatting. My daughter had me get a Blue Tooth (is that what it’s called?) but I just can’t get used to it, and now one of the pieces fell behind the old phone table, which is very hard to move!

  2. I remember my old number from our first NJ house; the old number of my parent’s first house and the farm. Funny how these stay with you. I used to know so many friends’ numbers by heart and now have to look up my kids’ numbers or automatically hit their name every time. No one learns phone numbers anymore. We still have our land line. We’ve had a few power failures and you need an old-fashioned land line — and not portables- to have phone service. My sister gave up hers and 2/3 kids only have cell phones. A new world. Go ahead and paint the ceiling!

    • Darling! I’m rethinking keeping one of our old rotary phones after seeing the video. We’d kept them for power outages when we still had the land line. I bet my grandson would like playing with it.

  3. I can imagine your grief- like losing a friend. I’ve had to move sooooo many times that I stopped dating my land line a long time ago. In fact, I don’t even remember the one I have now. Great idea for a post.

  4. no landline for me. I haven’t had one in about 5 years. Both of my teenagers would rather text than talk and in my business life, that is true as well.

  5. I have not given up on the land line. Our business uses it. I can totally understand your attachment. I find I text way more than I ever thought I would and talk less.

  6. Your post made me laugh. I don’t know how many months, maybe years, that I’ve thought the same thing. I…just…can’t. I have such and incredible phone number and it will work when the power goes out and that’s where all the spammers call. So, my stubbornness costs me about $40 a month. Is that crazy, or what? 🙂

  7. I thought this post was SOOOOO beautiful. It was almost like the personification of a telephone. But phones already are so very much alive with all our human emotions! So what an irony! I REALLY loved this post. Are you getting that? lol. Anyhow, I will not give up our land-land because my children are old enough to stay home alone but not old enough (IN MY OPINION!! And I know I am in the minority on this issue) to responsibly own their own cellphone. Therefore, I would never leave them in a house with no means of communication. I have many friends in the same situation who thought nothing of cutting their land-line. I think that is not smart at all. Opinion on that? Take care! Lovely post!!

  8. We haven’t used a land line in years though we continued to keep it only because it was required for our alarm system. We recently moved and elected to not install a land line. Haven’t missed it one bit.

  9. We still have our land line even though it’s expensive. Had it for 25 years so hard to give up! Plus more people have that number than our cell phone numbers which I keep more private for family and close friends. Butt yeah, in just the last couple of years I’m more attached to my cell than ever before, texting more and checking email, FB on it, too. 🙂

  10. Can’t bring myself to do it. The possibility of dropped calls and the spotty acoustics combine to change how i experience calls on the cell. For important calls, I ask folks to call me on my land line. And I must confess to feeling the tiniest bit smug (ahem, snug) and warm when, during two recent weather-related power outages, my neighbors were sitting in their cars charging their phones– or stopping in to use my landline.

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