Monday, October 01, 2007

The Numbers Game

Cole began the process of switching some of the utilities at the Marchmont house today; I haven't asked if Cole intends to keep the home phone line (currently he and Christy have cellular numbers but no landline) or not. Of course, I respect their decision and can see why they might not want to spend an extra $40 a month for a phone line... but there's a part of me that hopes that they do.

Mom and Dad first got their 234-5781 phone number when they moved to Marchmont Drive in 1963 (I don't recall what our phone number was before that time, but I know it was different, because I remember how surprised I was when we got a number that almost counted up from 2 to 8 in order). For the past forty-four years, that phone number has been a sort of "home number" for me--I have always associated it with Mom and Dad, and just talking about the number brings back memories of old rotary dial phones, even though no one in the family has had one of those since the late 1970s.

We used to get a lot of wrong number calls in the old rotary-dial days; Mom always theorized it was because kids would start dialing numbers more or less in order and hit ours at random. I never knew if that was right or not, but it seemed to make a sort of sense.

I had my own phone number from 1969 to 1971; Mom and Dad let me get my own phone in my bedroom since I spent so much time talking to Susan and tying up the family line. I have no idea what that number was, though; even though it was my phone number, it never really felt like mine--that is, I never became attached to the number.

For the first three years that we lived in Cedartown, Susan and I had no phone at all; finally, in 1974, we got our first phone, and the number was 748-6363. I remember it because we were official editors of Myriad at the time, and the abbreviation for that position was OE, which worked perfectly with a 748-OEOE phone number.

When we moved to Marietta in 1977, we got our first metro Atlanta phone number: 424-0485. I was frustrated because the zero meant that our phone number couldn't spell out anything. We had that number until 1986, when we moved to the Milstead Circle house and had to give up our 424 exchange. That was when we got our current phone number, which we've had for twenty-one years now.

It seems odd to have an emotional attachment to a phone number--and I guess I really don't. I have an emotional attachment to the two people I always counted on to be reachable at that number, and I have fond memories of the thousands of times I called that number to share happiness, to seek consolation, to catch up on news, or just to chat. It was a number I called twice a day (at least) virtually every day since Mom died, just to make sure how Dad was doing. It's a phone number redolent with holiday memories and happy times.

It's only a number... but sometimes numbers have a power to evoke so much more...

1 comment:

Janice said...

Wow, the minute I read this post the phone number at the house I grew up in popped into my head, even though my parents sold the house in 1981, over twenty years ago! Some things never leave you...