My View From The Bleachers RING-A-DING-DING, Can You Hear Me Now?
The word “telephone” comes from the Greek. It means “far sound” and the phone, as we know it, has evolved from the original phone to the cell phones of today, with lots of stages in between. As every school child knows, it was invented by Alexander Graham Bell. What we didn’t learn as school children was that Bell had been working on improving the telegraph and hired an electrician, Thomas Watson, to help with his experiments. We didn’t know that many inventors were working on the concept of transmitting sound, but the lawyers for Professor Bell obtained the very first U. S. patent in March 1876, beating out other contenders like Elisha Gray.
Some of you will remember when each home had only ONE phone, which was attached to the wall with an 8-ft cord. When your friends called and the phone rang, everyone rushed to pick it up and answer it. If you wanted any privacy from your brothers while you talked, you had to lift the phone up, stretch the cord out as far as it would go into the living room, until someone would wail, “Mom, she’s going to pull the phone out of the wall again.”
As a city girl, I had never heard of party lines, so when I picked up the receiver in the Michigan house we rented and there was someone talking, I yelled, “Excuse me. I’m trying to make a call and you are on MY phone. My husband just got this phone number for us. When he gets home, I’ll tell him you are on my phone, so please hang up now.”
“Who was that?” a gal’s voice asked.
“Beats me,” her friend answered. “Must be that new couple who moved in down the road. Thinks it’s her phone,” she chuckled. “Guess we better be nice and hang up.” And they did. When my husband came home, he explained about party lines in the Midwest. What a concept for a 23-year old easterner to hear!
Another phone story happened when we were living in Santee, California, a suburb of San Diego where my husband worked. Our oldest son was on Santana High School’s golf team and many of them caddied at Carlton Oaks Country Club in Santee. Carlton Oaks was the qualifying course for the “Andy William Open” tournament in San Diego, so Hollywood and sports celebrities played in that tournament.
One Saturday when he was working as a caddy, he called home. “Mom, guess who’s talking on the other phone in the clubhouse?
“I give up. Who?
“He’s one of your favorites – Jack Lemmon. He’s on the other phone here in the clubhouse,” he answered. “If you bring me my old golf shoes in my closet, they’ll probably let you in,” he suggested.
“I’ll be right there,” I replied, hanging up and rushing down the hall to extricate his old golf shoes from the pile on the closet floor of a typical teenager.
At the country club’s entrance, the security guard let me pass right through when I smiled, waved the shoes at him and called out, “My son is caddying, and he NEEDS these shoes.” (White lie, but it was for a good cause. Right?)
Inside, there was THE Jack Lemmon, keeping his baseball-cap pulled down, but gesturing and speaking softly into a phone. (Remember guys, this was before cell phones!)
My beaming son spotted me gaping at the actor. Playing along, he said, “Thanks, Mom, for bringing those, but I found my other ones in my truck and I’m wearing them, so you can take those home if you want. Sorry you made the trip for nothing.”
“No problem. It’s less than a mile over here,” I answered, grinning as I watched Jack Lemmon hang up and head out to the course.
So now we all have cell phones. The older folks have them for emergencies when they travel because phone booths along the highways are a thing of the past. Most cell phones have a camera. The younger set text each other daily, sometimes hourly. They know the “shorthand language” for many words to make it easier 2 communicate. LOL
I love our relatives who have cell phones where they can read my emails and respond right away on their cells in written format on their work break. How cool is that? And just imagine what another few years of the continuing evolution of the phone will bring us!
COMING UP – MAY 28
For Americans, this is the start of the patriotic season, from Memorial Day to Flag Day on June 14th, to Independence Day on the 4th of July, when we all remember and honor all our veterans who fought for the freedom that we now enjoy. It’s the season for baseball, JUCO, picnics and family. Enjoy yourselves out there!
Everyone knows about our friend and founder, Jim Doody, of the “Huey” helicopter set up at the Vietnam War Memorial Park in Fruita to honor Jim’s deceased brother, Tommy, and other veterans who fought in that war. Their 14th Annual Golf Tournament at Adobe Creek Golf Course will be held on June 9th and is limited to 136 golfers. Money raised is for local scholarships. THE ENTRY DEADLINE IS MAY 30, so HURRY. Call Jim (970)250-5861 or go to www.fieldofdreams.org for more information and/or to register online.
“Golf is a good walk spoiled.” (Mark Twain)