Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The old man talks to the kids after school

A couple of our kids came by the parish office just now; and the conversation found it's way, as oft is true with old people talking to young people, to how things were "back in the day."

I offered to show the girls what the computer I used in college looked like. Here it is:

FYI, this is a Royal #10, circa 1914. Note the beveled glass panels! And I wasn't kidding. I used one of these all through high school and college. I didn't get a PC at work until 1985, and I remember how much memory it boasted of: a whopping 40 megabytes! Windows had just become available for IBM-style PCs.

And here's what our phone looked like -- a Western Electric Model 500, circa 1960:

In Cincinnati, the "phone company" was in charge of everything: the actual telephone service (local and long-distance), the wiring and the phone set. You didn't own the phone; Cincinnati Bell did; we paid to lease the equipment; and if something went wrong, they'd come and fix it. I still remember what a big deal "call waiting" and "call forwarding" were.

I also asked them, do you know what the first cell phones were called? "Cellular phones!" they answered, astutely! (These are bright girls!)

But not astutely enough. "Nope, I said; we called them car phones."

Here's a particularly stylish example:

The girls were very polite and didn't roll their eyes. At least, not around me.


Unknown said...

Dear Fr., I think car phones were also called mobile phones. Also before car phones there were CB's do you remember those. I remember when dad got an answering machine & told us not tell the phone company. Do you remember that? The typewriter in the picture, was that mom's? What a great treasure. Thanks for walk down memory lane. Take care & love, Eileen

Fr Martin Fox said...


Of course -- "mobile phones"! I'd forgotten. And, yes, CBs are still around; I remember mom loved talking on it.

I don't remember why dad said, don't tell the phone company, but I kind of remember; it sounds like dad.

And yes, I think that was mom's typewriter. I am pretty sure Carl has it. I bet he's kept it.

Ellen said...

Love the "car phone' - reminds me of the one used in the TV show Cannon. I worked for the parent company of a mega car dealership organization from 1983 until 1989 at the time when having a car phone installed was a big deal. I used to laugh when the execs would call from the parking lot - thought they were big cheeses.

Jennifer said...

Very cute!!!! :)

Bob said...

One of my first "old man" moments was during Hallowe'en one year. I was passing out candy, and a little chap wearing a robe and a pointy cap with stars came up. I said to him, "Well, you're The Sorcerer's Apprentice!" and he shot back, "No, I'm Harry Potter!"

Then I went inside and drank some gin.

ndspinelli said...

Gin will make your sin.