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Wednesday, 2 March 2011


Comms aka communications
Today, we take for granted our multi-connection comms networks. A query from one of my on-line friends set me thinking (it's an age thing). Her young daughter asked a question and not knowing the answer she posed the question on-line.
'What was a telegram?'
The realization dawned again of age and years marching on. In the thread of resposes folk were putting web-sites to ask!
But, for me it was a sad memory of the only time I received a telegram. That set the memories rushing one after another.
Dad used the phone at work and that was all. There were no phone lines in our street. Eventually,  a neighbour got a phone, it was a party line which meant a shared line. So if another 'party' was on the line you couldn't use your phone.
Telegrams were charged at so much per word and expensive; only used in times of emergency. Hence, in the early 1970s the telegram I signed for was to inform of the death of a relative.
When I went to college, there were pay phone-boxes in the foyer and students would queue to use them. I was in 'digs' and they had a phone so once a week Dad would phone from work at an agreed time. The main way to stay in contact was by letter.  But, then the post was rapid (compared with today) there were two deliveries a day and printed materials, letter or parcel post. Printed materials? The local paper rolled with a label round it which came to me once a week. No it did not arrive battered and torn but in almost perfect condition.

What about today? I for one, no longer trust the postal service having had a few bad experiences.  
I've had some mail today, a letter from my MP on House of Commons notepaper (very grand) and one from a utilities company.

Phones? OH has his own cell phone but it spends more time switched off than it does on. I have two, one is an Android 'smart phone' and the other the same as OH. In the house there are 4 phones. A land-line phone in the kitchen and 3 digital phones spread round the place, hall (2) and dining room. Two in the Hall? Yes, one immediately by the door so we can answer on our way in/out if necessary and one at the other end that can be answered from the lounge. 

Last, but not least there are laptops and wireless network (almost instant) comms.


Sayre said...

I received a telegram from my grandfather when my son was born. I wonder if I still have that somewhere? When I was growing up, we had a party line with the old ladies across the street. It was frustrating to try to call someone and have them be on there doing their daily gossiping and litany of aches and pains. When we got our own line, we were SO happy!!!

joanygee said...

Party lines were a nuisance weren't they. Good to know you received a happy telegram. (smile)