Question of the Week: Childhood & School

Hey, what, what?! Remember these? I found my book of questions while I was cleaning up my office over my vacation staycation whatever I just had, so let’s bring it back!

Man, today’s question is really going to date some people, because kids today have ALL THE THINGS. When you were growing up, did you have your own telephone, or any other special privileges?

I thought I had a picture of my unwrapping the phone that I got for my 11th birthday – it was SO COOL! Boxy, and white, and it was just a handset! So freeing! You could put the phone down ANYWHERE! Not just in that big clunky thing attached to the wall! You could put it on a bookcase! Or your dresser! Or on the FLOOR, because you were a REBEL and not constrained to societal norms of where a phone should be put. And it had a super-long cord, like, easily 15 feet! I WAS SO COOL. That phone was the beginning of my awesomeness and popularity.

Well, not really. But I could call my friend Missy at 3 AM on Saturday (which we would arrange earlier in the week at school so that she would pick the phone up on the first “ding” and not wake her parents up) and we could watch Night Trax together while whispering into the phone about how we were totally going to meet Boy George and get makeup tips.

ANYWAY.

Then the next year I got my own RECORD PLAYER!!!!! On it I could play… ALBUMS! Remember those?! Of course I had to borrow albums from my dad’s stack which meant I was rocking out to John Prine and Jimmy Buffett. BUT STILL. Behold my coolness.

Happy 12th birthday!

And dinosaurs roamed the earth back then, kids! But I didn’t let them use my phone because their arms were TOO SHORT.

8 comments

  1. I remember getting a, I think, turquoise blue Princess Telephone sometime around 6th or 7th grade. It was in my room! I think I got my own stereo around 9th grade. I didn’t even realize that present sitting unwrapped was for me. It was inconceivable.

    Both my grandmothers lived in the same town, where everyone was on a party line, and you only had to dial the last four digits of anyone’s number if you were using one of the phones.

  2. I might have had a phone in my room by high school; I didn’t really talk much on the phone so I don’t remember clearly. But I did have a stereo from late elementary onward. My first one could play 8 TRACK TAPES as well as record albums.

  3. When the Earth and your dad and I were young, only extremely wealthy and manipulative kids had their own phones. I mean, you could have an extension in your room, but your parents could hear an inaudible parents-only signal and pick it up when you were talking about anything interesting.

    It makes me wonder something I’d never wondered about before . . . Kids Nowadays must have (in this regard) a fundamentally different technological sense of identity. When I was a teenager I never knew whether some parent might be listening in when I talked to girlfriends and pals. So I had one [sense of] identity on the phone and a different one when talking face-to-face.

    Of course parents will still eavesdrop; it’s in the rules. But I don’t think they can monitor both sides of a cell phone conversation without breaking federal law.

    (What an image . . . “Mom? Dad? You are so fucking busted.”)

    Unca Joe

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