TRemont 8-5283 VS THE CELL PHONES
(Or, answer the phone)
© 2013 By David Wainland
The earliest phone I can recall was a heavy black backlight instrument that sat on a table in the entrance foyer of our Bronx apartment. That unit was part of my mother’s exclusive territory and nobody answered it but her. Dad seldom used it. He disliked long phone calls, as did my mother. In their minds the, “Ameche,” as my father forever referred to it, was for important messages and emergencies only.
In the Bronx of the forties if one wanted to contact a neighbor, you simply walked to their apartment, since the majority of your friends lived on the same block. Sometimes it was as simple as banging on the wall, floor, ceiling or tapping out a coded message on your radiator.
Perhaps this is why my parents did not object to the party line installed by the phone company. It was 1943 and wartime. We were lucky to have any kind of unit.
Tremont 8-5283, the first combination of numbers I ever learned, drilled into my brain by a fretting mother and permanently locked in my mind by her dire warnings. I could no more forget my first phone number than my mother’s name.
“David, answer the phone please.”
“Which one honey?”
“I don’t know, but it’s ringing.”
“Why are all the rings the same?"
“Because I like that singer and her music. Just answer the phone.”
“Nothing on the office line, Jamie.”
“Try the home line.”
“Where did you put it”
“With the remote.”
“Never mind honey, I found it in the couch. Nope, it’s only the dial tone.”
“It must be your cell phone, David.”
“Can’t be, I dropped it this afternoon. They say it’s my fault. Dropping is not covered. I need a new one. Maybe it’s yours.”
“Well, my business phone is off and my personal cell is in my bag.”
“Where’s your bag dear?”
“By the couch, near the remote and the house phone.”
“Well, get your bag and answer the phone.”
“Why, it stopped ringing.”