Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It’s your call.

In a time when it seems everyone has a phone in their hand, pocket, or located next to their ear, there was a time when we didn’t have this. Wow.

Since many of us were probably around when the cell/smart phone wasn’t, you might remember when a call made anywhere outside of the county, and certainly the state, would be “long distance.” Probably one of the greatest excuses for not calling home during my college days--- “L.D. calls” as we called them were expensive, and well, we had to get back to studying anyhow. 

Now that long distance has essentially been eliminated, along with roaming charges, operated assisted calls, and anything that has to do with paying extra for calling outside the neighborhood, we have no excuses. (I do think it’s kind of funny when calling your neighbor you have to dial the area code first…culture shock thought, what about going over and talking face to face?)

Imagine what it would have been like calling London or another city across the world?

Turns out a Glen Ellyn man was the first to do this in Chicago. His name was W.W. Shaw, Jr. and in early February 1927 he spoke with John Steele in located in London. The conversation lasted about 12 minutes, and as described by Mr. Shaw, “the conversation wasn’t always clear, it seemed to fade away at times.” The topic…not the weather, royalty updates or how the food was over there, “Mr. Steele told of the English and German industrialists uniting to form a federation to fight American commercial interests abroad.”

That's nice huh?

I guess it would not be polite to hang up so he listened and two stenographers recorded every word of the conversation. In today’s lingo that would be “Wikileaks.”

A lot has happened since this phone call in “Our Town.” The phone is omnipresent; calling anywhere around the world is no big deal, and the phone booth? What’s a phone booth?

Thanks for stopping by.

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