|Photo of the French provincial phone |
I've had since the 1970s.
We received our Yellow Pages books today. Yes, we got two of them. One was the same larger size in diameter that many of us remember – only it was less than half the thickness of the ones we used in years gone by.
The other one was a “companion” book. Just what does that mean? Why in the world do the Yellow Pages need a companion? Perhaps it’s just a more convenient size that we can use to carry around with us. Really?
If I need a number today, I usually just look it up on the whitepages.com or the yellow pages.com websites. Googling works, too. It’s so much easier in today’s world of technology. Besides, many people no longer have land lines and aren’t listed anywhere anyway.
But I’ll have to say that in this instance, I honestly miss the “good ol’ days.” I can remember the excitement of getting our new phone book each year. When I was a small girl, the White Pages and Yellow Pages were all together in one book, even for a city as large as Memphis. As soon as it would come, I (always the avid reader) would take it to my room to start reading it. Yes, I read the phone book. That might sound geeky…okay it probably is…but I loved it!
There was so much to learn from those books in those days. There was always a history of the city, plus information about the government to read, and then there was the fun of looking up all of the families of my friends. Naturally, the first listing I invariably went to was ours. Just checking to make sure everything was written correctly, I assured myself each year. It always was, thank goodness.
When I was sixteen, I got my own phone for my birthday. It was a beautiful little blue Princess phone and was a separate line from the family’s line. It was actually in my own name, which meant that my name would be in the phone book, too! So now I was looking up my own name, as well as the names of my friends who also had their own phones. Oh, how I wish I had a photo of that little phone, but I can’t find one. Nevertheless, since blue is my favorite color, the mental picture that I have of it in my head is still very vivid.
For this blog post, I had to settle on a photo of the faux French provincial phone that I bought for myself back in the 1970s. It was always hooked up to our phone system, and I used it often over the years.
Probably my favorite story about that phone involves my youngest (and late-in-life) child who was born in 1985. By that time I had moved the phone to our upstairs bedroom and rarely used it. Punching buttons was so much easier. One day when I had him in that room with me, I sat on the bed to make a quick phone call. At the tender age of three, my exceptionally smart son exclaimed, “What is that?” I’ll admit to being shocked and then started laughing. Of course, he had never seen a rotary phone being used and didn’t realize that the “pretty thing” in our bedroom was a phone!
I’ll also admit that even in that time frame, I was still reading that phone book when it came every year. By then, there were two separate books: the White Pages and the Yellow Pages. Naturally, I had to read through both to get all of the information that was provided about the history of the city, county, and state, and all of the other tidbits of information that was in those books. I had, however, stopped looking up my friends. (One does eventually grow up.) As a teacher, I often used the information I gleaned from those books in my history classroom. I can remember the surprise that most of my students had that so much information could be found in the phone book!
I guess I was still reading the phone books until just a few years ago. We dropped our land line, and any information provided by those books was easily accessible by then through my computer - and even from my cell phone. But the genealogical treasures those phone books hold are still valuable and, thankfully, copies are held in repositories at our local genealogical libraries and also at our county archives.
I have to admit to experiencing a twinge of nostalgia today when I saw those two little Yellow Pages books. I guess I’ll sneak a peek in a day or two to see what’s actually provided by them these days.
More importantly, I have to find out what a “companion” is!
@2015 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland