Landlines and Trimlines~

Red Rotary dial phone(Image by Pahz on Flickr)

I was cruising around the web the other day and found the most beautiful red telephone! A deep red, rotary dial, standard telephone, built back in the day by Western Electric. What a beauty! That color! The history! The... dial! 


I still have my land line. It rings through on my trusty mustard yellow trimline - a Western Electric bestseller with a rotary dial and spring-curl cord that gets all tangled, despite how many times it isn't used.

We bought the Trimline from Pacific Bell when the phone companies were deregulated. It has been in use since 1976. We probably paid too much for it, but for some reason, I was attached to the fact that it was attached.

The only people who call us on the land line now are telemarketers - and my mother in law. She gets her land line free, since my father in law retired after 45 years with Western Electric. My father retired after 30 years with Pacific Bell, so the sentimental factor is way up there. (She has a cell phone. But she keeps it turned off in order to "save the battery.")

Most businesses I call on this line require a touch tone in order to make selections. It is a weird sort of frustration when you can't make selections so the company "can better serve you." You used to be able to stay on the line and the call would default to an operator, but now you have to give up and go get the cell phone. My kitchen-centered wireless land line is a piece of junk that has never worked right, has lousy sound quality, and must be used while facing east with one leg up in the air, bent at the knee. Don't EVEN try to dial it while the microwave is running. This sorry excuse for a phone also provides extra static - just for kicks and giggles.

The best part of having this rotary-dial phone was when my adult kids were younger and their friends would ask to call home. This was before every child under eight had their own cell phone - "for emergencies only." (Yeah, right.) The perplexed looks on their faces when faced with that rotary dial were worthy of photographs - that I never took. That's a shame since, coupled with the cord, the phone was a real kid-confuser. Do you remember how dirty that cord would get? I mean, how can ONE phone cord get so dirty with only a few people using it? Good old rubbing alcohol!

I remember the first Trimline we had. I was a kid. My dad, the consumate Pacific Telephone "communications consultant," brought one home from work. I loved that dial! It moved while you dialed! How cool was that? It was sleek and so stylish! Ours was a drab olive green, but my mustard model isn't any more attractive as far as colors go. I pleaded during my teen years for a Princess model in deep red, but never to any avail.

Getting rid of the land line is an emotional thing for me. I have a rotary dial wall phone in my garage that belonged to my great-aunt. I would like to hook it up. For that, you need the land line.

What is the price tag for sentimental value these days? I guess family and cultural history can be bought and paid for through a nondescript, mega-corporate entity for $35 a month - in a bundled package.

At least my cell phone is red.

 

"Anybody who has begun to think places the rest of the world in jeopardy." ~John Dewey

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