I feel as if an era is passing away, receding into the shadows of time. It was on January 25, 1915, in fact, that the very first transcontinental telephone call from San Francisco to New York was conducted by American Telephone and Telegraph Company (now AT&T) before the opening of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition and World's Fair in San Francisco. (Of course, the first transcontinental telephone LINE was first completed on June 27, 1914, and successfully first voice tested in July 1914.) Prior to that, the first commercial telephone exchange (a system where two or more phones can be connected within a small area) was opened at New Haven, Connecticut with 21 subscribers on January 28, 1878. By then, American homes began installing ONE telephone, though sometimes the only phone in rural locations was at the general store. The technology spread fast. It quickly became indispensable, like indoor plumbing.
Phones have come a long way from that time. Cell phones are more than phones. They are little computers in our hands, little televisions, little...well, everythings. And to our little home a landline seemed irrelevant, especially when all I received sometimes five, six times a day were robocalls. Still, there's something sentimental about those landlines. They were fixed, anchoring our homes to the rest of the world. Cell phones or mobile phones are by their very nature...mobile. There comes the idea of where do you now put them if they are to now be your "home phone". Maybe men have an easier time of it, simply putting it in your pocket. Women don't have that luxury (though you'd think fashion designers would get off the stick and realize we have to carry cell phones, too). I keep mine centrally located, charging in the hallway, and hope I remember to take it with me when I leave the house, always a problem as one gets older. And speaking of getting older, there was also the practical consideration of perhaps having to make a 911 call. Would it be close enough in an emergency? But are my landlines any closer?
The fact of the matter is, as we limp toward retirement, some sacrifices had to be made to save a little money. And those robocalls! I won't miss them.
No matter. The deed is done, but with it is just a little sadness. It's a different era. It's time to move on. Maybe we don't have flying cars but we have whole computers, vast technology in the palms of our hands. That's something, isn't it?
*By the way, those are my old phones I collected from around the house, a far cry from that one phone at the general store.