98. Holding the phone next to your heart

The orange phone has made it into previous posts. We inherited some kitschy items with the cottage, and in 10. Clara’s Kitsch, I conducted a poll to discover readers’ favorites. The orange phone won by two votes. Several readers suggested we hang it in the bathroom by the water closet.

Mr. H.C. doesn’t remember having this orange phone at his childhood home; he says their kitchen was turquoise and they had a black wall phone. So Clara and Joe must have picked out the orange phone especially for the 70s orange decor of the cottage. But they transferred their telephone number from that black wall phone. 627-5590. It’s the number I remember calling (even though I wasn’t allowed to call boys…)  It’s the number on the orange phone.

I still have a nice square foot section of this wallpaper to frame and hang somewhere…

Found this photo on E-Bay -- it's for sale for $60.

Found this photo on E-Bay — it’s for sale for $60.

The phone at our childhood house was a green desk phone that sat right outside the kitchen. It was the number one public area of the house, and there was no such thing as a private phone call. Mom would sit at the chair with her morning coffee and talk to her friends. We three girls would sit with our cokes and talk to friends in the evening. I remember when our original phone number (1696-L) was changed to 627-5804, but we only had to dial the last five digits because everyone in town had the same first three numbers. My dad transferred this number when he moved to his apartment in town — that was his phone number until the day he died…

We had a party line because we lived in the country. Alvin, the teenaged boy on the next hill always hogged the phone; he and his girlfriend would do their homework in silence every evening from 7 until 8:30. By the time I was in high school and talking to Mr. H.C. on the phone,  the party line was gone and the only people who complained were my sisters, who were waiting impatiently for their turn. Dad would just shake his head and mutter, “What if I want to use the phone sometime?” We would just laugh, because Dad hardly ever talked on the phone. And if he needed to make a Very Important Call, he just said, “Get off the phone.” And. We. Did.

TelephoneCandlestick1930sto1940sMy grandparents had a “candlestick” phone (627-5305) on a telephone desk outside their kitchen. This was an antique phone even when I was a kid. My grandma Carrie had suffered hearing loss from diphtheria as a kid, and she always wore a hearing aid — the old fashioned kind that had wires and a transmitter that amplified sound. When she talked on the phone, she held the ear piece next to her heart where she wore the amplifier. It looked odd, and I was fascinated by watching her talk on the phone. She explained one day, after I was caught staring, that they kept the old fashioned phone because it was easier for her to manipulate. Then she smiled. “I only talk to people I care about,” she said. “And I carry their words next to my heart.”

I love technology (mostly) and I love my IPhone. And here in the teens of the new century my phone matches my kitchen as well.

And chances are I would rather text you than call you on the phone. Saves time, u no. But listen to what we are saying here. Are fifty-seven texts better than one conversation? We are communicating more and saying less, reduced to emoticons and abbreviated phrases.

Orange phone in living roomThe orange phone was hanging around on the wall in the living room until we took it down a few weeks ago when we moved the ovens and began the rehabilitation of that wall. I think I will hang it up again somewhere in the cottage — maybe next to that framed section of kitschy kitchen wallpaper — just for memory’s sake. But it will be a silent phone, only good for remembering.

Why is it that I can remember those old phone numbers when I can’t even remember the phone number I had at my last house. Oh, well, it MIGHT have to do with advanced age, but I think American society used to have a permanence that just isn’t there anymore. We cast-off, trade-in, move on.

It’s a throw-away world. Our phones. Our phone numbers. Our words. Sometimes I would be better off just to shut up. To listen. To call someone up just to hear their voice. And carry their words next to my heart.

67. Gadget stuff

This is part 5 of several posts discussing Richard Foster’s chapter on Simplicity in Celebration of Discipline.

I need want a new IPhone.

There is nothing wrong with mine, except it’s old. A 3GS. If you’re not up on IPhones, that’s 3 models ago. The 4, 4S, and 5 have come out since. A few months ago, I got Mr. H.C. an upgrade for his. He needed one; his little slider thingy (technical jargon) was broken, and he couldn’t silence it, plus it was looking pretty bad because he is a construction guy, and his phone gets a lot of hard use, and he just needed a new phone.

He didn’t want one. Mr. H.C. is not a tekkie; he uses his phone for convenience and work and just wants a phone that will do everything for him and has a short learning curve. (He’s a busy guy.) So I bought him a 4 — not that much different from his old 3G, but it has Siri, and it has a great camera. Yes, a great camera. That’s why I need want one.

Unfortunately Richard Foster reminds me (yet again) that I am falling short here too. I know, I know, we all fall short…


Victoria Elizabeth Barnes, said in a recent blog post, “Incidentally— when you start a blog, you have NO IDEA that you need to take 12,000 pictures of EVERYTHING.” And yes, she is absolutely right! Not only does one need space for one’s thousands of photos, the new IPhone cameras take Panoramic shots, which one absolutely needs if one is trying to show a room transformation… Look at these panoramic shots of the kitchen:

Apple Hill Kitchen

Panorama Apple Hill Kitchen
Yes, these were taken by Mr. H.C’s phone. And not only does it have Panorama options, it also has HDR capabilities. Right! I’m not really a tekkie either, so I only recently learned what this is. It means High Dynamic Range imaging; a few posts ago I complained about not being able to get a good photo of the inside and outside of the kitchen windows in the same shot. That’s what HDR does —

By definition, photography is the art of recording light. This act must be done with the camera sensor — which is only capable of capturing a certain range of light intensity at any given time. Even the most expensive and most professional cameras on the market are not equipped with sensors that can capture all ranges of light in one photograph. That’s where “HDR photography” comes in.”

This was from an article on IPhoneography that I went back to study. So, this photo was taken with Mr. H.C.’s camera as well:

Kitchen Windows at Apple Hill Cottage

HDR technology at work — this is the shot I could never get with either my Canon or my IPhone. I deleted all the tries or I would show you the difference.

If I had my priorities straight, I could be in agreement with TWO of Mr. Foster’s rules for a simple life here.

Most of the time Mr. H. C. is agreeable when I ask to borrow his phone. Last weekend I took eight pictures with it. But sometimes he wants to use it himself? Like tonight, for instance, I wanted to upload the photos onto the Mac and he said, “Well how long will it take?”
Right. Never mind, I’ll do it later.

Convenience! That’s what we want, and we want it now. (Sigh) Oh those wants vs. needs… They are so troublesome. Especially when it comes to tech gadgets. Those custodians of modern gadgetry sure have us propagandized, don’t they? Face it, I have three perfectly good digital cameras at my fingertips, and I’m not satisfied? There is something wrong with this picture. (It must not be in HDR!)