When’s the last time you pulled over to use a payphone? If you did today, you probably couldn’t find one. Many people are even disposing of their landlines in favor of cell phones. I have mixed emotions about this modern day device, but society is completely addicted to it.
I like the convenience of having a phone in my pocket all the time when I’m on the road. However, if I’m not on the road and you want to talk to me, you’d best call my land line. I do not keep the cell phone in my pocket when I’m at home.
Now Saturday mail delivery is disappearing. The postmaster has announced that the end is coming. (When’s the last time you wrote a letter?) I’m glad my Aunt Jincey isn’t alive. She would be devastated because she wrote more letters than any other person I’ve ever known. When she finished one, she wanted one of her neighbors (my family) to run it to the post office for her immediately, even if the postman was scheduled to arrive at her door momentarily. Before I reached driving age, I walked to the post office for her many times every week. In all honesty, the trek wasn’t really that far and the exercise was good for me.
Please don’t think I’m longing for the good old days. Many of the days of my youth weren’t so good. When my car broke down between Sparta and Sandersville on the way home from Athens one Friday night, I would have loved to have a cell phone. No pay phone sat on the side of the road in the backside of nowhere either.
I was stranded. Fortunately, a Good Samaritan instead of a serial killer stopped with me and took me to the next town to find a pay phone. Of course, my daddy came to rescue me, but he would have been happy to have a cell phone, too.
Some things from my past I’d like to have back to stay, but they, too, are disappearing. Take, for example, the chenille house coats that my sister and I grew up in. We lived in a house with a fireplace for heat, and at night when the fire went out, the house cooled all the way down to frigid. Mama always rose early and had a roaring fire going for us to dress by, but the run from the cold bedroom to the living room fireplace was frightful. Mama took care of that problem by keeping those wonderful robes for us until we grew up and left home. They had big pockets to warm cold hands and buttoned from our chins down to our toe nails. We practically lived in them from October to March. This garment was made for comfort.
A few years ago when I accidentally found these robes in a catalog, I ordered two—one for Sarah Nell and one for me. We agreed that it was like stepping back to our childhoods. After we’d had the robes for a couple of years and I’d forgotten where I bought them, I received a letter requesting the return of the robes for a full refund plus shipping. It seems the company had discovered that the robes were not fire retardant.
Sarah Nell and I laughed and kept our robes. If, as children, we could avoid catching on fire when we lived with a fireplace, we probably can now in this age of central heat.
The company sent several more letters asking for the robes back, but to no avail. I’m wearing mine right now. It’s not really cold in the house unless I’ve just stepped out of the shower, but that robe’s better than a towel any day. I intend to keep it until it falls in tatters around my feet.
All these disappearances are signs of the times. Pay phones have outlived their usefulness. Saturday mail service has, too. Its loss probably won’t create a crisis for many people. And the robe that I love so much isn’t really needed any more. These lighter, more feminine robes are more appropriate for 2013.
The scary part of this saga is not the objects or services that are disappearing, but the loss of our fundamental beliefs. That’s the part of the old days I long for.