The Long Cord

500setsIt was 1983. I was staying home for the first time in my life, bringing up baby. We had one phone, attached to the wall. When you talked on the phone you were limited to, um, talking on the phone. Your options were sitting or standing.

It was BIG excitement to get a long cord! Now I could clear the table, pick up toys AND talk on the phone. There were daily calls with Kathi, another young mom. Our conversations ranged from our son’s latest schedule change to the man who picked his nose—and studied the results—during church to Gorky Park to Jazzercise.

Through the phone my oldest sister walked me through the dilemmas of motherhood and listened with patience and delight to my momentous pronouncements. He stared at me for two minutes without blinking! Like my lunches with my mom when I was in kindergarten, I had a need to narrate the current events of my life, give my commentary, consider and then demolish any imaginary criticism. When my thoughts had been downloaded, when I had been heard, we could comfortably end the conversation.

That cord would s-t-r-e-t-c-h almost to the kitchen sink. I learned to station the diaper bag within range so the conversation could carry on amidst messy diaper changes.

When I hung the phone up, the long cord spiraled into a double helix.

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10 thoughts on “The Long Cord

  1. Oh my yes, I loved that wall phone with the long cord. I could go out into our one car garage and see our boys playing in front or go to the sliding door and watch them on the swing set in the back yard. And, the photograph is a delight. I asked my hubby what he thought, could it be sunrise or sunset. His fisherman mentality kicked in and he says since the lake is still, it is probably a sunrise. The winds pick up during the day, he told me. Whatever…it is lovely!

  2. I remember those days too! Loved that long cord. Ours eventually became misshapen and lost many twists. Our was that lovely 70s golden color. 🙂 What color was yours?

  3. My husband even bought gadgets that were supposed to keep the cord from the ‘double helix.’ They didn’t work. But you know what I never thought of before you wrote this? That cord, long or short, was a visible image of connectedness. Maybe it wasn’t all bad.

    • I had similar thoughts, about location. When you talked on the phone with the cord, you knew where the other person was. Recently I called for a hair cut appointment, and my dear salon owner made the appointment. I asked a follow-up question and she said, “Oh! I’m in Hawaii right now, so I can’t check on that for you.” It go *me* all dislocated!

  4. Hooboy, this brought back memories! Carol, your former next door neighbor Marg gave me a 25′ cord for Christmas one year (1960 I think) so that our long conversations could continue no matter what. One day, while I was defrosting the freezer section of the refrigerator with a nifty new electric heating gadget, I was also washing the kitchen ceiling (no kidding) while Marg and I chatted. I got so carried away by the thrill of being able to wash the ceiling of a fairly large kitchen while talking to my best friend without missing a beat, I forgot about the defrosting aspect. Result? One plastic freezer door melted into a graceful u-shape.

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