I am old enough to remember how special the telephone was back in the day. While growing up we had one black phone that was made of Bakelite in our living room. It was a major big deal when we got an extension upstairs, and it was made of light weight white plastic.
Back then you had to get your phones from the phone company. They leased it to you and charged you for each line. Calling long distance was a big deal as well. You had to place LD calls through the long distance operator.
I had friends who had party lines. The more youthful readers here probably are thinking of a telephone chat room, but no, it was when several people shared the same phone line and an in-coming call would ring differently for each person. So if it had two short and one long rings it was your call and if it was a long and a short ring it was a call for your neighbor. If someone got a call at 3am all phones who shared the line would ring. Also other people could listen to your conversations.
After the government broke up the Ma-Bell monopoly things got better, you could buy your phone, run your own wires and have as many extensions as you wanted. The technology got some what better, but not really, which I’ll explain in a moment.
There was a point where I had three lines into our house and two cells. Five phone numbers…that’s communication consumption. One day I realized that I really don’t like talking on the phone, so I no longer needed a line for the fax, one for the computer (yes I still use dialup since I don’t have the need for speed and high speed internet still costs about 500% more than it should) and one for talking, so I dumped two of the lines. If someone calls while I’m on line, they can just call back later. My wife and I each still have a cell, which we will keep because we are still on an old plan where we each have a phone with our own numbers and together we only pay $30 per month. That’s only $15 per phone, you can’t beat that! She rarely uses her phone, and I keep mine in the event I’m getting sucked out to sea in my kayak.
My point underlying all this phone stuff is that with all the advances in communication over the last fifty years, you would think that phone quality would be great. Yet still while talking on a cell phone or while talking with someone using Vonage or other types of telephony, you would think you could actually hear them clearly. It is like talking to Neil Armstrong on the Moon…”One _iant _eap for mankind…”
I called my mother on the East Coast last weekend. I dialed her direct. She answered and spoke with me on that old white phone that has been upstairs in the same spot since I was five years old. She sounded really good. Not just her 85 year old voice, (which I still have in my head for growing up) but the sound coming over the wire sounded really good. I appreciate the old wire technology. I hope that some of it stays around until I am no longer able to hear.