Slice of Life: Connecting With Obsolescence


Last weekend, I took advantage of the extra days off to get ready for Christmas and did some cleaning. When I dusted some long-neglected shelves, I found a phone dialer from my grandmother’s house hidden in the shadow of a vase. As I held this totally obsolete object in my hand, I marveled at how perfectly its design matched its purpose: a finger-length cylinder tapered at the base so it could be easily grasped while a phone was dialed. I remembered watching my Grandmother as she used this dialer to call her friends or sisters to chat about recipes, gardens, and grandchildren.

My grandmother, c. 1905, and her phone dialer.
My grandmother, c. 1905, and her phone dialer.

Although my grandmother, and the phone she dialed, are no longer around, the urge to reach out and connect with others never fades. From letters, phone calls, emails, and tweets, people still crave connections. The mode may change, but the desire remains.

Maybe it’s because of my age, but I still prefer phone or face-to-face conversations over emails, texts, or Facebook. But these new-fangled forms of communication let me keep in touch with high school and college friends who are scattered around the world. And I’m grateful for all the connections I’ve made through blogging and Twitter.

Although I can no longer use this phone dialer, I’m glad I have it. I’m glad I can hold it in my hand and remember the deep, loving connection I had with my grandmother. And I’m glad that when I put the dialer down, I can turn to my computer, and connect with the world.

Thank you to everyone at Two Writing Teachers for supporting this connected community!

5 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Connecting With Obsolescence

  1. What a beautiful post. I loved seeing the photograph of your grandmother as a child. Your description of the old phones reminded me of calling my English grandmother long distance from our home in New Jersey — always an event!


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