Does anyone recognize this?
It’s a telephone table, a relic of a bygone age. I inherited it from my parents. A telephone (of course) sat on top, and that little shelf right underneath that is where those big, fat yellow and white pages sat – the telephone books.
I can’t remember the last time I got a telephone directory, but it was several years ago. Does anyone still get them? They came to the house once a year, but I haven’t gotten one in ages.
My ten-year-old god-daughter looks at me strangely when I tell her about the telephones back when I was her age: big black clunky things with rotary dials – but they never broke. Once, I forgot to hang up the phone after talking with a friend – long story – and when I got to his house, I had to turn around and walk home to hang it up because they could not make or take any calls until I did: a call was not over until the person who initiated it hung up.
By the way, this is me at “about her age”:
We only had black and white TVs and received only six channels clearly, which bewilders her completely. And again . . . that look. I’m sure that my father, from whom that telephone table came, knew it well.
He was born in 1908 – over a century ago – and the world was a much different place.
By the way, this was him when he was probably about a year old:
They had no television in those days; they used an icebox! There was no air conditioning: when it got insufferably hot one summer, tens of thousands of people camped out on the shores of Lake Ontario because that was the only place where it got cool enough to sleep. When his father got a car, he taught the old man how to drive because Bampa couldn’t figure it out. My father was underage, according to todays standards, but you didn’t even need a drivers’ licence in those days because there simply weren’t enough cars on the road to be bothered with them.
His father, my grandfather, was born in 1880! Nearly a century and a half in the glorious past. That’s in the closing days of the Wild West, about a generation after the Civil War. No radio, and certainly no cars.
This is one of my few pictures of Bampa:
And this is me, probably about the same age as he was in the above picture, in a “selfie” (emblematic of our age), taken with an iPhone 6, which he would probably not have been able to conceive of and my god-daughter could not conceive of being without:
As far as that goes, I don’t remember reading of anything like it in Jules Verne (who wrote From the Earth to the Moon fifteen years before Bampa’s arrival on the planet, so I can’t even call it “the stuff of science fiction” because it would have gone beyond that.
Admittedly, my parents had me a little on the late side, but even so, we are living in times when the pace of change has literally outstripped the imagination of writers of science fiction.
Look what’s happened in just three generations!