Saturday, June 11, 2011

What I use to do...

Our club is going to have a meeting and we have to let everyone know when and where. The phone tree is the best way to get the word out. Three officers of the club divide the membership list into thirds and go home.

After a quick snack of Charlie's Chips Potato Chips (I like to dip them in a bit of ketchup) and a Tab, I pull out my third of the list and begin.

The phone is on the wall in the kitchen but the curly handset cord reaches to the kitchen table. I dial Francie's house first and sit down at the table to play with the chips in the ketchup trying not to have my mouth full when the phone gets answered.

"Smith residence."
"Hi Mrs. Smith. This is Suzanne. Can I talk to Francie?"
"Sure. Just a sec." And I hear the hand set bang down and Mrs. Smith yelling in the distance: "FraaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnCIEeeeeeeeeeeeee. Phone. It is Suzanne. Be quick because I need the phone."

"Hi Suzanne."
"Hi Francie. Hey, we are going to meet at Wendy's house next Thursday at 7. Think you can make it?"
"Sure. Who do you want me to call?"
"Great! Can you call Janet, Betsy, Linda and Lisa?"
"Sure. I'll ask mom if we can bring something. Probably cokes."
"That would be a great help. Talk to you later."
"Okay. Talk to you later."

So we use to have one phone in the house that was tethered to the wall. You couldn't walk around the house chit chatting. And you didn't call someone personal phone, but the phone that rang at the house for the entire house hold. This is now sometimes referred to as a "land line".

There was no texting. Nor instant messaging to tell people what is going on. No evites or Facebook event. The phone tree was the best way to make sure everyone got a message and you got to share the burden on reaching an entire group by passing the calling along.

You actually DIALed the phone with a round disc that you used. Holes around the dial for each number and you rotated it and let go - waiting for the dial to spring back before the next number. I loved dialing. I thought it was really neat how some people used a pencil so their nails didn't get chipped. But I really never did that. I liked just pulling the dial around and letting go. It was great when there were zeros! They took the longest to pull and wait for the return. The sound is still in my ear memory.

Where I grew up "coke" was the same as "kleenex" or "q-tip". The brand was the name of the soda no matter what the real drink was. "You want a coke?" "Sure. I'll take a Sprite." or "You have any coke?" "Yes, Root Beer, Coke, and Kick". Kick was in a green bottle with a mule kicking his back legs in the air.

What was really fun was the delivery of potato chips to the house. Yes, potato chips in a cool tin can was brought to the house by a Charlies' Chip delivery guy. I'm sure others roll their eyes a bit when they hear the older folk talk about milk and eggs being delivered. And those returning to the freshness of having milk and eggs delivered now. But I haven't seen a resurgence of the potato chip man.