Dial it up

There are things that are gone and probably won’t come back. I miss a bunch of those things. That rotary dial telephone, the very heavy one, that used to sit on my grandparents’ vanity desk. It was black, and solid. When you picked up the receiver and held it to your ear, you heard a dial tone. A dial tone. For all that matters, I miss the groovy brown wall phone at my parents’ house. It might have been olive green. It had a cord that stretched from East Bruce Avenue all the way to Timbuktu. My time was measured there. But, every phone conversation of my young life went through that mouthpiece. Every adolescent call, over the lines of Ma Bell, was placed through that very phone. Had I been thinking, on the day we moved them out, I would have yanked the thing from the wall, as a keepsake.

I bought an old phone at an antique store, a year or two ago. I made a phone number tag, and put it in the center of the dial. The phone number of our home in Dayton all those years. It makes me oddly happy when I see it here, in my office.

The thing that I was thinking of this morning, was the old Arcades. There was an article about “THE Arcade” in Downtown Dayton, which spurned all of this. But I was thinking more about the Game Arcades we used to go to as kids. Later in kid-hood. I didn’t spend much time there, as I didn’t have a huge resource of quarters. But I loved the game arcades. Skee-ball was my favorite. There was a miniature bowling game too. And then the video games came around, and I was enthralled with those.

One of them was like a big table with six or eight steering wheels around. And whoever wanted to, would plunk in a quarter, and you raced one another. Oh, I loved that thing. There was Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Frogger, and Centipede. A hundred others, I’m sure. But. Now. Gone.

Now we have all those things in one 5. 3 inch screen.

The big heavy phone, with the dial tone, all the way down to Super Mario Brothers. All smooshed up into one device. That we carry in our pockets, and pull out, whenever the notion strikes. The entire arcade, and the household phone, the encyclopedia, the atlas of world maps, the recipe box, calculator, television, coupons, mail, notebooks, and, and, and, all — right in the palm of our hands.

Yep. It all has changed. It’s gotten bigger, and smaller, at the very same time.

We’ve got the whole world….. …. in our hands.


“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
― Søren Kierkegaard


“Your past is always your past. Even if you forget it, it remembers you.”
― Sarah Dessen, What Happened to Goodbye


“The past is never where you think you left it.”
― Katherine Anne Porter