Ma Bell

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Just writing Ma Bell makes me smile. My husband spent his entire corporate career working for her and has the watch to prove it. πŸ™‚

He put in a good day’s work, and she paid him with cash and benefits. She paid the house payments, utilities, tuition, bought food for the table, and allowed us to go on family vacations.

During those years, we had phones in every room including the bathroom.

Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Hey, what telephone guy didn’t have a phone in the bathroom? We hadΒ wall phones, desk phones, princess phones, phones in a decorative box, and a Snoopy phone.

We even had one of the first cell phones that was in a bag the size of a tool box.

We loved our phones.

Fast forward to 2016 when we are still reaping benefits from his long career, but the phone situation is a lot different.

We haveΒ a home phone or landline that sits in a base with a couple of extensions along with two cell phones. Living in NH, our number one landline caller is political based. They call numerous times a day, and for that we get to pay $46 per month.

Relatives our age are more apt to email, call on our cell phones, or post on Facebook, while anyone 45 or younger prefers texting. So, why keep that monthly expense and the option for every political candidate and party to call at all times of the day?

I guess it was just a sense of loyalty,Β but no more. As of December 31, 2016, we disconnected our landline.Β Take that political folks!

Cell phones give usΒ the option to block anyone who weΒ don’t want to hear from. Now, that is real phone power.

It would only be fair to share that cell phone coverage is courtesy ofΒ AT&T. I guess we couldn’t cut all the cords. πŸ™‚

So, do you still have a home phone or do you just use your cell phones?

About Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread

Master Gardener who enjoys gardening, quilting, photography, and traveling.
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57 Responses to Ma Bell

  1. Oh how I want to cut the cord. I live in an area where the cell reception is spotty. (Used to be great but think Verizon sold off a tower). We have a no frills landlines for $26 per month. 50% of the bill is various taxes and government imposed fees. I find that appalling! Our phone goes to the machine after 2 rings and callers get to listen to the model railroad club schedule before leaving a message for either of us. We get lot’s of hangups. My daughters tell me it is the world’s longest outgoing message. We never ever answer anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. quilt32 says:

    Like Stitching Grandma, I’m still hanging onto a land line but with the help of the answering machine avoid at least 95% of the calls which are political or threatening me with action because of a non-existing unpaid bill.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dan Antion says:

    I miss Ma Bell. Maybe I miss the simpler times, but they were so reliable. Our cell phones are still with AT&T, and we still have a land line phone. During a 10-day power failure in 2011, that phone was the only thing in our house that worked. Even the cell phones didn’t work the first three days, because the cell towers didn’t have power. If we stood in one corner of our bedroom, we could get a 1-bar signal. I can’t imagine the political call volume you must deal with. My brother lives in Iowa. He dropped his land line too.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We still have a land line in addition to cell phones. We too would probably disconnect but with the business, the land line still serves a need. We carry basic coverage, that’s it. When the power goes out, often the phone lines are still active and we an old princess phone that gets plugged in. I would very much love to have one of those old heavy black rotary phones. You know the ones, that if your fingers were too big, you had to use a pencil to dial? Dialing took more time with a rotary phone, and you had to stand close to wherever it was plugged in… ranging around, probably a conversation with less distraction… multi-tasking. Oh, those days! Great post, Judy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This post made me smile! My husband also retired from Ma Bell. He refuses to give up our land line!

    Liked by 1 person

    • πŸ™‚ It was a very tough decision for old Bell folks. We probably wouldn’t have given it up if we were still living in Kansas, but since politics is an industry in NH, it just wears you down. But, I guess that’s why we stay with AT&T for cell coverage. We’ll always respect Ma Bell and the good old days. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Sue says:

    Years ago took my grand daughter to visit with MY grandmother. Typical gram house, old black rotary sitting on a doily. Told her to call her mom and tell her we would be a little late. Comes won’t work. I go and check, dial tone ? Tell her try again. She pokes at the holes and says see nothing happens I show her how to use a rotary. She says “cool” loves it, spends rest of visit calling her friends and telling them about cool phone her grgrgram has

    Liked by 2 people

    • Love this story. Did your phone number start with a word? When I was a kid, the number started with the word, Ashley. So we dialed AS and the rest of the number. Why I remember that I do not know. πŸ™‚ The topic of phones is certainly light years away from what Alexander Graham Bell thought he was inventing. I don’t think he envisioned human conversation would stop so each person could stare and swipe at their phone. πŸ™‚


  7. Joyce says:

    We still have a land line. Guess it’s because “old peoples'” anxiety has set in. Don’t want to take a chance at missing anything! Your post makes me wonder what part of our large “bundled” Comcast bill is for the rarely used phone and the enormous amount of fees and taxes attached to it. We only answer calls from the kids and those whose IDs show up. The “funnest” calls are from “the IRS” alerting me to the “police who are coming to arrest” me due to unpaid taxes. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. After some hesitation, I quite the landline 2 years ago. And I am very happy I did so!! And indeed no more silly phone calls…if one slips through the maze, the “block this caller option” is wonderful!!
    But i do love that Snoopy phone….xo Johanna

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Relax... says:

    Wow, a blast from the past! My first two kids are hanging onto my and my mom’s old rotary dial clunkers, one is harvest gold (ick!) and one is that uber-classy white. Can’t seem to part with those, though they are not in use. We lost our land line account when homeless chickie’s young brother in jail called her here (collect) too many times, talked forever, and none of us were able to afford the bill with the extra charges. It’s alright — we’d probably not ever have gone with cell phones otherwise, which are much handier. Also, the wall model in our dining room back in the 80s had a 25′ cord, which became 50′ long as teenage years rolled onward, lol. I’m sure some of us can relate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember that extended cord well. After being stretched from one room to another, it never went back and would hang on the floor. πŸ™‚ Those rotary phones if not worth any money could probably be put in a telephone museum for future generations. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • Relax... says:

        πŸ™‚ Ah, the stupid-ugly hanging cord all curled on the floor — at one point not even matching the ugly phone! Double-ugh! The only thing I miss of landlines apart from weather emergency usage is two of us being able to talk with two others who also had another phone upstairs. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Murphy's Law says:

    LOL! Just a landline here. No caller ID. No call waiting. No need for anything else for us.

    I LOVED our black rotary phone. Loved dialing with or without a pencil! And remember Lily Tomlin, one ringy dingy, two ringy dingy!? Never could’ve pulled that skit off without that rotary phone. And all the laughter we would’ve missed!!

    But we do have a foreigner who calls frequently wanting to clean out our chimney! Or maybe he’s saying bank account. Or wall safe. Can’t really understand him!!! πŸ˜‚

    Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I loved Lily Tomlin with that headset on. πŸ™‚ A female friend around 55 got the call from the person with the accent wanting to fix her computer, and she got sucked in. She called the number back, gave him the password and all of a sudden she could see him using a mouse as he went all around her computer grabbing info. She finally woke up and pulled the plug on the computer, shut it down, and called a security firm. She is now paying $29.95 per month to have her computer monitored. Scary stuff, and they try to get you where you’re vulnerable. Shame on them. Keep hanging up. πŸ™‚


  11. Eliza Waters says:

    We still have a landline because it is tied to our internet. And it was only this weekend that we got a new cell phone that actually works in our rural area. It’s expected that eventually the landline will go, once we figure out internet without it. What do you use for IT?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. joey says:

    No one talks about Ma Bell anymore, so it made me smile, too. I always wanted a Snoopy phone πŸ™‚
    We still have a landline. When it rings, we look at it in shock and often, ignore it, not recognizing the caller. But we get tornadoes, and feel it’s safer this way. It’s included with internet, so cutting it wouldn’t save us any monies.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. We have a proto-Wifi-based “land” line. I wish we had a real one because they are the only phones that work even when the power is down. We do have a cell phone which i use very rarely because frankly, I can’t hear much on it … and Garry can’t hear anything on it at all. He has a caption phone in his office for the rare times he can’t convince me to make the call for him.

    Garry, with his weird work schedule, had phones everywhere. In the bathroom, in the kitchen, in the bedroom, in the living room. We were among the first cell phone adopters because finding a pay phone in the middle of wherever they were sending him was often impossible. Then, mobile mania hit and instead of being telephones, they became pocket computers, always dinging and ringing and alerting your to something your phone is sure you would want to know RIGHT NOW but in reality, something that if I never hear about it is fine with me.

    We have “nomorobo” to block the robotic calls and there are few real calls these days. Not so many people left to make them, you know?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now, you’re getting to crux of the issue – the baby boomers who grew up with landlines are on the exit ramp of life. πŸ™‚ Regarding the dinging, I had to go in and turn off all notifications because it was driving me crazy. ‘Smart’ phones really do think they know best.


  14. germac4 says:

    Paul’s mother who is turning 90 is the only person who rings us on our landline, and while she is alive we will keep it…I guess that says it all for landlines! I bet there will be a museum full of cute phones like your Snoopy ones for the next generation to go WOW!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Joanne Sisco says:

    We gave up our land line a few years ago and I don’t miss it at all. I was tired of the telemarketing calls every night non-stop between 5 pm and 9 pm. I deeply resented someone using a service I paid for to try and sell me something.

    We worried at first about power outages and not being able to contact our sons etc. Then it occurred to me … they don’t have land lines. Even if we did, we wouldn’t be able to contact them anyway πŸ˜‰

    Strangely, every once in a while I worry about missing a call I’m expecting because I’m going to be out … and then I have that aha moment!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I am a freelancer & have one client who is so intrusive that i can’t give him my cell phone number. So I have kept my landline for many years, now, just so he can call all day and leave messages. Otherwise, it would be long gone. There was a brief period of time when the “do not call” list seemed to be working & we had very few sales calls. Now that is over & we get several per day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • At least it sounds like you figured out a plan to handle a paying customer who doesn’t appreciate boundaries. πŸ™‚ I really wanted that “do not call” registry to work, but after filing so many complaints and nothing changed it just seemed like a waste of time to even attempt it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, me too – I was all about that ‘do not call list” I have 3 grown kids, out and about, and they do not always keep their phones charged, so if my land line rings I am all alert to the possibility that it might be them on some friend’s (unknown to me) line. So I still jump when the landline rings. Usually it’s just a recording wanting me to buy solar panels.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. My grandfather worked his whole adult life for Ma Bell too! And we have a watch, too. He started as a lineman, never had the chance to go to college, but worked his way up into management. Ma Bell put food on the table, paid the family’s mortgage all through the Great Depression, and helped send his two sons, my dad and his brother, to Harvard. A great American story all ’round.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. We cut the cord, so to speak, some years ago. It felt very weird, growing up as we did with only landlines (and party lines!) to be without one. But one day I realized that the only people calling were people/groups/companies I didn’t want to talk to. I was letting the answering machine take almost all calls and then deleting any messages, so why waste the money? For quite some time, it seemed odd to not come home and check for messages or hear the phone ring. It was also remarkably freeing and I don’t regret it in the least.


    Liked by 1 person

  19. Oddment says:

    This is a subject which gets me up on a very tall soapbox. So I will make myself be brief. I miss the phones that stayed put and didn’t follow us around.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Do you mean when you actually left the house and if someone was trying to contact you they just called you back? What? No instant contact? How barbaric of you. πŸ™‚ I even remember when women carried purses in their hand like they were important. Now everyone just has a phone in their hand at all times. It is like an extension of their arm. Maybe in the future they will just implant phones in baby’s arms so they will never be without it. πŸ™‚


      • Oddment says:

        Yes, yes, that’s exactly what I mean! Hoorar for the barbarism, and thank you for the laugh. As to the phone implants, I can’t help fearing that might not be far-fetched. Yikes.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. We have a land line simply because that’s how our internet works. But when we eventually are connected to the new National Broadband Network the landline will go.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. KerryCan says:

    Phones have changed so much in our lives! We were tethered to a little telephone table, with a party line and a phone number that started with letters in place of numbers (JO1-3028–JO stood for Jordan)! And everybody in the family had to share a phone. I don’t know whether I am nostalgic for those times or not!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Those were definitely simpler times. My grandparents had a three-party line. They also had a telephone bench where the phone sat on this little extension, the phone book was placed underneath on the bench, and you sat on the bench to make or receive a call. It was white with gold flecks. Definitely a different time compared to everyone today walking around with a phone in their hand. πŸ™‚


  22. When I was getting used to having a cell phone ( meaning I did not trust myself to remember to take it with me or remember to charge it ) and having the grands to babysit alot, I kept the landline for emergencies.

    I cut that out a few years ago along with cable TV…

    What is scary now ( I think for some people ) is that without a cell phone there is no way to do anything / call anyone in an emergency. When is the last time that you saw a pay phone anywhere.

    The advancement in technology in my lifetime is amazing / crazy. I remember as a little kid that my parents and grandparents were on a ‘party line’ : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • We walked into a restaurant last week and there was a phone booth in the bar area. I got all excited, walked towards it, pulled my phone out, only to see that there was no phone just mops, buckets and cleaning supplies inside. What a waste of a good antique. πŸ™‚


  23. quiltify says:

    I’m from a Ma Bell family as well. Grandfather, father, husband…we have a landline because it is free with B’s retirement package. Loved those stocks in the 90’s! Only in the last year did I finally put away a dial phone that I had in the sewing room. I don’t talk on any type of phone now that I have graduated from employment, unless I see one of the kids’ numbers pop up. We’ll keep it as long as it is free. If you want me, email me. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Rose says:

    I wish I had the nerve to cut out the phone…I don’t like talking on my cell phone. Not sure why. But I can block numbers with my landline phone…the phone itself. And also there is this nomorobo place where I can go in and block numbers, too. It really helps eliminate all those calls.

    But congratulations to you for having the courage to get rid of it. I really don’t talk on our much at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. My Mom worked for and retired from Pac Bell then went to work of World Com for a short time then retired for good.
    I didn’t grow up with a phone in every room, but did get one in my room when I was 14. A princess phone. I was so excited.

    I had AT&T for my landline from the time I moved out of my parents house at 17 up until 2 yrs ago when I cut the landline and only have a cell phone now. I am a bit worried about it b/c AT&T aka Pac Bell has the infrastructure in place to be able to make an out of state call in an emergency like an Earthquake.
    We’ve always had a family out of state be our contact person for that emergency.
    In 89 I picked up my landline receiver and even though there wasn’t a dial-tone I hung on the line and 20 minutes later I got to make a call to my Mother-in-law letting her know we were alright.

    With all of us here in California having cell phones now I have no idea if we’ll be able to stay on the line and get through to someone out of state like I could having a landline with AT&T. It’s something I think about several times a year since cutting the cord. We do have AT&T cell phone service. I haven’t totally left them either.

    Liked by 1 person

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