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Turning Over New Leaf

Monday, April 19, 2010

Kryptonite for a Generational Symbol







Kryptonite for a Generational Symbol

It is hard for me to fathom that I recently explained to my students the concept of the telephone booth. It was not so long ago, when people entered phone booths to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and its accompanying noise. Some people, those not living inside, even used phone booths to make calls. The booths were equipped with telephone books for public convenience, and a thin dime bought a local call. Patrons could opt for long-distance connections for a few cents more.

Phone booths were cool. They were usually constructed with glass and aluminum, and even had privacy doors. However, in the 1970s, patrons noticed a decline in enclosed phone booths, which appeared to coincide with an increase in vandalism and the war on drugs.

With the advent of the cellular phone in the 1990s, telephone booths have all but met their demise. I am saddened by their disappearance, as part of my history has now also vanished. I know how my grandparents must have felt when the first refrigerator was delivered to the old neighborhood.

 And what of Superman? I hope he is close to Wonder Woman. He might have to learn how to spin for a modest change.

6 comments:

  1. I once happened to be in the home of a man who bought a salvaged phone booth (wonderful dark stained wood) and put it in his hallway -- something I would love to have done.

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  2. Bruce: Yes, some of them were definitely made of wood. I also love the British phone booths. They always looked classier.

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  3. JJ, I remember those phone booths! What about those free-standing pay phones, too, on a short pole? I spent many summer days calling home from the neighborhood pool!!! First, it cost a dime, then a quarter, finally 35 cents. I spent dollars in change trying to call home from my high school's courtyard, too. Wonder if that phone is still in that courtyard (class of 1991)?

    Some booths were quite beautiful, as Bruce mentions. We should have cell phone booths...so we would not have to listen to dumb private conversations, LOL!

    Some things are missed, like old 33 RPM records with their album art and liner notes.

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  4. A-M: I think the short pole booths declined in the late '70s, and by 1995 were scarce. 33 RPM records, along with the 78s and 45s are sorely missed.

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  5. It never noticed they disappeared, until now. Well at least we still have a couple drive-ins here. Some things outlast popularity.

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  6. David: Drive-ins! It has been many years. I went to my last one in Nova Scotia about twenty years ago. Great memories.

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