Geri-Antics: The ramblings of a crazy old broad

Published 10:23 am Thursday, March 15, 2018

When I was a kid, we had a party line. For those too young to remember a party line was a group of people, usually neighbors, who shared a single telephone circuit.

There was one basic rule of etiquette — you were to pick up your telephone receiver very quietly in case someone else on the party line might be in the middle of a conversation.

If that was the case, you were supposed to hang up, also quietly, and wait until their call was concluded at which time you could place your call.

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I’m sorry to tell you the rules were not always followed.

There were some who thrived on gossip. For the busybody, the party line provided a wealth of information about the private lives of those with whom they shared the line.

Of course, no one in our house fell into that category.

Although I must admit, there were a few times when the adult conversations were so juicy that I was a little slow hanging up. Perhaps I feigned an “emergency” on occasion when I needed to place an urgent call to my best friend who lived next door.

The average duration of a land-line phone call between two teenagers in the 1960s was approximately 30-to-90 minutes. But it wasn’t just teens who participated in marathon calls. My mother and her lady friends sometimes talked through an entire soap opera while consuming a pot of coffee and a pack of cigarettes. Just think how many text messages would be required today to communicate that amount of data.

I still prefer a phone call to a text message. Text messages can be misconstrued. Live phone calls allow voice intonations that communicate emotions far more accurately. Today, I placed two phone calls to girlfriends who live several hours away. The calls lasted over an hour each.

That hasn’t changed much.

Our phones are wireless now, so we were no longer tethered to a cord and can multi-task as we talk.

However, the topics of conversations have changed. No longer does the fact that the boy we met at the sock hop on Friday night failing to call constitute a crisis.

Today, we discussed ailments, doctors and medications. I was sorry to hear that both of my friends have chronic illnesses. I feel fortunate that I have only minor aches and pains and that I still have all my original equipment. There is a good deal of titanium and plastic joints in folks my age.

Although the conversations with my friends were of a more serious nature, I’m glad that I had them. It’s good to share both the good and the bad news with someone who has known you, since way back when. Someone with whom you entrust your memories and look forward to the future.

Don’t put off catching up with friends you haven’t seen in a while. Make the call today.

See you next month!

Anne Carmichael is a lifestyle columnist for the Jessamine Journal.