Monday, November 13, 2006

DIAL That Number

We were at my folks' house yesterday--the house I grew up in-- and our kids were with us. At some point, my daughter was downstairs in the rec room -- does anyone even have a rec room anymore, or just a family room or entertainment room?

In any case, my daughter runs upstairs very excited about something she wants me to see downstairs. I ask what she wants. She said she wants to know what something is. I say I can't come downstairs, to just tell me what it is or bring it upstairs.

"I can't bring it upstairs. It's plugged in."

So I try to envision the rec room and what she might be referring to.

She continues. "It's black and has a round thing on it (at this she describes it with her hands)..."

It hits me. A black rotary telephone. Our original black rotary telephone. My parents' telephone that they got when they moved into the house in 1958. (We were a one-phone family for many, many years.)

And I start to laugh. My daughter -- my children -- are not familiar with rotary telephones. Then I began to think of what else they've missed out on in the years they've been around: b&W TVs, typewriters, life without any kind of remote control, life without a microwave, record players, eight-track tapes, etc. They even learn how to tell time via digital watches! And kids learn to tie their shoelaces later on in their young years, when you can no longer find sneakers in their size with Velcro fasteners.

To that end, I think we should have some kind of survival show for kids, introducing the use of these appliances, electronics and tchochkes that they are not familiar with in their everyday lives. Let's watch them concentrate, get frustrated and try to figure out how these things work.

And if they run into trouble, let them use that black rotary telephone and DIAL INFORMATION!

Update: I was telling my husband tonight at dinner about this post. He corrected my error; my daughter KNEW it was a telephone, but she did not know how to USE it because it is a rotary one.

So my husband guided her in how to use it...and he had her call his cell phone, which he had with him. She could see the process ...or should we call it ''progress"?

My husband also reminded me of a nephew of ours who, a few years ago, saw me take an ice tray out of the freezer and he asked "What is that?" Even at age 7 or whatever he was, he was not familiar with a simple ice tray. Why? Because he had the type of refrigerator that provides ice cubes and ice water right in the door!