“I don’t know my mom’s phone number,”

I was thinking the other day. It was a random thought that passed quickly through my brain.

I realize that the statement sounds awful, but it’s true. What I really mean is that I don’t remember her phone number. I do have it and I call her often, but I have to look it up in my address book. Simply, press the name – mom cell – in my favorites on my cell phone and the number rings.

It’s a sad consequence of the digital age.

My mom’s phone number was 713-494-2240, it was mine, too until I moved away in the mid-1980s. My mom had the phone number until a few years back when she dropped it in favor of an internet phone and a cell phone to save money, but she has since dropped the internet phone. Now, she only a cell phone number and it’s in my cell phone’s address book along with a picture I took in October 2016 when we were visiting. The picture shows up on the screen when she calls. It makes me smile.

My mom still lives in the house where my brothers and I grew up. This past August she celebrated 50 years in the same house and the same address. We moved into the house in the summer before I started kindergarten and I lived there until I moved away in college. My brothers moved away to start their lives on their own after I did, but they still live in the area.

We grew up in the era of rotary dial phones. The kind of phones you couldn’t speed dial and had to place your finger in number slot and turn it all the way and let it return, then repeat the process until all of the numbers had been dialed.

When we first moved in, all we had to do was dial four numbers for local phone numbers, just the last four.

As a kid, I knew all sorts of numbers and I still do. Robert and Jimmy were 3351, Jimmy and Jeff were 3355, and Jimmy and Chris are backdoor neighbors were 2267. With exception of Jimmy and Jeff, whose parents still live in the neighborhood, all of those kids and their families have long since moved away. Scattered like seeds in the wind.  

After a few years, things changed and we had to dial seven numbers with the 494 exchange added in front.

We had two phones. One was hardwired to the wall in the kitchen and the other was in mom’s bedroom. The kitchen phone had a long cord and we could stretch it to another room if we wanted privacy, but for the most part, there was no privacy in the kitchen and any conversation with a high school girlfriend would have to be in mom’s bedroom or when no one was around. I remember lots of pauses while talking on the kitchen phone. Lots.

When I was in college the area code changed and we had to dial the area code and the seven- digit phone number, then a couple of years later, we had to dial 1 then the area code and the number – much like I have to ‘dial’ the number today. Progress.

Except, I don’t dial the number any longer. The number is in my address book along with countless other folks who I know and call. Mom is on my ‘favorites list’ towards the top, I might add.

We have a home phone, but I think it’s days are numbered, so to speak. I rarely use it to make a phone call and it seems the only calls we seem to get on the land-line are from folks selling something or wanting some sort of political contribution.

But for the most part, the digital age has erased my need to remember all sorts of numbers.

I DO KNOW my mom’s STREET ADDRESS and use it to send her cards and an occasional (hand-written) letter. Everyone deserves a handwritten note occasionally tucked in amongst the bills, catalogues, and junk mail which arrives daily in my mailbox, and I am certain your mail box, too.

I’ll be making a call to mom sometime today before the Super Bowl kickoff to catch up and check in.

And, I’ll have you know that I do know my wife’s cell phone number, and my kids, and my home phone number which I’ve had since we moved here in here in June ’91. As well as a few others, but most of the numbers I call are stored in my cell phone’s address book. It’s progress, I suppose.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday – Super Bowl LII (another number) – an unofficial holiday here in the states. This will be Making the Days Count dot org’s eighth Super Bowl. I have watched all or parts of every Super Bowl beginning with Super Bowl IV. This one will be number 49 for me…. and I only hope that it’s a good game and no one gets hurt.

It’s gonna be a great day and like most Sundays I have a lot to get done before the day comes to a finish. So, I’d better jump up, jump in, and seize the day. Making the Days Count, one day at a time, one finger roll on the rotary dial or simply the press of an address item on my cell phone.

What numbers can you remember?

8 thoughts on “numbers

  1. Great post – I’m no good with phone numbers but I still remember my dad’s car’s licence plate…. ZH 137 622 – my brother got it when my father had to give up his driving…. Also I have a very few phone numbers stored in my head, rather by chance I feel because they are not even those I need most. Aaah, the human brain with its intricate workings.
    Our phone also had a very over-extended cord … 🙂 it hung rather high up on the wall too, no mean defeat for the smaller ones amongst us! I do know my husband’s mobile phone number but not mine – I always have to look it up before giving it to someone.

    1. Thanks for stopping in – I enjoyed your message last week or the week before. Car license plates – oh my. My wife and I have consecutive plates – 902 and 903….and I have no idea which is which and we’ve had the plate numbers for 26 YEARS! I suppose I have a 50% chance of being correct. It’s snowing here and I don’t have to go to school today – I am glad for the time to catch up and breathe. Enjoy your Friday and the weekend ahead – make it count. Peace.

  2. Oh my gosh, 713-494-2240–that brings back a flood of memories! I don’t remember too many past phone numbers; luckily we had the same home number in Tulsa for 22 years. I did have a strange experience several years ago, though. I was filling out some type of form and wrote down an old address of 15 years earlier!

    1. Thanks for stopping by….the older I get – the more I realize how random the memory can be. Numbers are funny – what I remember borders on savant level. But, dates are really my forte. My wife always asks me when something happened and I can pinpoint the year or sometimes an exact date. We’ve know each other 34 years this summer – my how time flies. I do remember stretching that kitchen phone cord to it’s limit many times. I wish my kids could experience that, just once or twice. It’s a snow day today and I am using it to catch up and breathe – have a great day, keep making those days count. Peace.

  3. Astonishingly, I can remember a phone number from my childhood when we lived in London, in Victoria. Phone numbers were half words, half numbers in those days. It was TATe Gallery 2921 if you ever need it. You dialled simply TAT then the digits. So much easier to remember than a long line of digits. Happy days!

    1. I apologize for the tardy reply – the week has been a whirlwind of sorts and today is a snow day – heavy snow which began last night and no school today (Friday) and a three day weekend for students and teachers alike. Phone numbers and all sorts of numbers are ‘chunked’ into manageable bits of three of four digits to help is remember.. When my dad lived in Paris I had to ‘dial’ or press 0-11-33-1-… and a two sets of four digits which I’ve long since forgotten. It’s odd what sticks in our mind and what doesn’t – such as what my wife asks me to do or get from the grocery. I should simply write it down. Have wonderful day, spring is on the way.

  4. I remember all of those old rotary phone things too, the 4 digits, the bedroom extension, the LOOOOOONNNNNG pauses during conversation when you were on the kitchen phone. We even had party lines. Those were so annoying, especially if you were in the middle of one of those long pauses and some neighbor picked up the line and started dialing.

    I do have a few numbers memorized, because I do use my landline a lot to make calls, but I do have most numbers in my cell phone memory. And, I can’t tell you how often I’ve asked people for their phone numbers and they don’t know it. They have to look at their own phone to tell me. I guess that’s why everyone panics when they misplace their phone.

    Good post, Clay. For some reason you’ve dropped off my automatic notification list and I’m not getting notifications of your posts. I’ll try adding you back into my list, but that’s why you haven’t seen me around. I’m not getting the e-mail notifications, which is how I usually respond to blogs.

    Anyway, take care. Enjoy the superbowl. Have a great week!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    1. No worries – I know where you are. Phone numbers are interesting and they are chunked so we can remember them. I can remember all sorts of phone numbers, just not my mom’s. She laughed when I told her and explained the idea for the post. She sent me a text with her number! Stay warm, spring is on the way – make the days count. Peace.

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