Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Ernestine's Ringy-Dingies

Some readers of this blog are too young to remember Ernestine the annoying switchboard operator created by the talented Lily Tomlin. I myself am almost too young, having just turned 6 when Laugh-In went off the air in 1973, 1 day after my birthday. But I thought it would be a cute trip down memory lane for some of us if I mentioned her on this Vintage Thingies Thursday post. Why? Because I am showing pictures of my parents' phones. Notice I use the present tense. These are the phones still in use on the cul-de-sac of Cinnamon Lane. They have been there since 1965 when the house was built.
The luxurious kitchen phone is hard-wired into the house. The luxuries here include the shoulder rest and the super-long cord that was added in the mid 1970s. Before that, Dorothea (my mom) could only get as far as the sink on the other side of the room. This cord gave her the freedom to move into other rooms a little bit. I can't believe that cord hasn't dried up and cracked! Notice the 1970s wallpaper, also appropriate for VTT. In the bottom left corner of this picture is a B&W photo of me taken for my high school yearbook tacked to the wall. Since I was the editor I stole it. There are also assorted pictures of popes, family, and children from my mom's home daycare that are now all grown up.Ah, the red princess phone! I don't know if this is actually the "princess" style, but it sure looks like it. I would love to have this phone in my current bedroom, but as you can see it still has a 4-prong plug. This is the upstairs phone in my parents' room. When both my sister and I hit high school a luxurious 25 foot cord was added to the plug so we could take the phone down the hall to our rooms for privacy.The sound on this phone is very fuzzy ever since my evil sister threw it into my angelic face in 1985. All I did was unplug it from the wall! My front teeth were a little wiggly for a few days! Lesson learned: Don't mess with a girl who's on the phone with her boyfriend.


That's it. 2 phones in a 10-room house. They have phones in the basement and family room now, as well as a cell, but still no call-waiting or caller ID. I live alone and have 3 phones and a cell My goodness, how times have changed!
Do any of you still have these dial phone in your homes? Anything wired right into the wall? Do they work?
Click on over to ColoradoLady to see what Suzanne and the other VTT folks have to show you this week.

42 comments:

Coloradolady said...

Loved this post! Would it not be interesting to have someone do a survey and see just how many of these are still around and being used? I have a feeling there are many who would not even know what we were talking about...a phone being hard wired into the wall...LOL. I enjoyed this very much, brought back lots of memories....oh, and to answer your question, we do not have a phone like this one...sigh.

AnNicole @ OurSuburbanCottage said...

I love those phones. They totally remind me of my childhood. Come to think of it maybe I should install one in my house :).

By the way, I love the blog's new look! Very nice. I also finally sorted out the blogroll problem and you're on there....of course :).

Bea said...

Elizabeth, I think it is sad that kids today will not know what it was like to dial a phone. I love the red one. Didn't know they made them in that color. Cool!

Jewelgirl said...

One ringy dingy, two ringy dingy.
snort, I remember both of these
phones. We had a beige wall phone
and a blue princess phone. This
brings back memories of "party lines", remember those?

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

I not only remember a phone being hard wired into a house, but I remeber when a phone# could be BR 4351 and the party line. We had a 7 party line for years, each person knew their special ring and wouldn't answer another parties ring. But there were nosy neighbors who would ease drop while you talked and then we finally got a 2 party line, oh what joy that was...lol...
Yes times have changed.

Susan said...

It has been a long time since I have seen one of those types of phone. I do however remember watching "Laugh In" and Lily Tomlin.

Patty said...

Last week on Life On Mars, which is set on 1973, one of the cops was in a phone booth, dialing a number. I thought it was great. That red phone is fantastic! And, count me in as old enough to remember Ernestine.

P.S. I love the new look of your blog!

Mamaoftwins said...

Hey there! I just tagged for a post called "where I blog". Details are on my blog.

Your blog looks great!!! Lovin the new look.

I remember the rotory phone on my moms wall in the kitchen when I was growing up. I also love old phones. Especically old black ones. Im actually on the hunt for one. Im also looking for a very old pay phone for my phone booth that we got from an old building they were tearing down in Los Angeles. Going to make the twins pay to call the girls when they get older. LOL JK!

Anne Fannie said...

Hi Elizabeth:
Ok, you are making me feel old tonight!Not to long ago, I raided my Mom's garage and grabbed some of these phones she had stashed in there. One of them had a phone number on it, I checked and it was my Grandmother's old phone! Its this ugly turqoise blue! I don't know what I will do with them, but now I have them stashed in my garage!
I enjoyed your post! It brought back memories!
Love, Ann

CC said...

I remember Ernestine and loved her. Love these phones too..specially the pink wall phone with the shoulder rest. Your mom is a lucky lady..I would so enjoy having it. Happy VTT and have a great weekend..

^..^ Corgi Dog Mama said...

I miss these old phones!
We just have cells now, and they just aren't the same.
Love the new look of your blog, E.
Very stylin'!!

marianedwardsdreamweaver said...

It's not that long ago that we had a similar wall phone lol :)

Smilingsal said...

I no longer have dial phones, however, I do remember Lily Tomlin. How I loved Ernestine and her snappy responses that kept callers in line.

Your parents' red princess phone is labeled correctly. My MIL had a pink one.

Lynne said...

I have two original Princess phones for our spare bedrooms. I got them on e-Bay. The both work, but the night lights don't light. I guess I can live with that.

I have a pay phone in my kitchen. It's new, push-button, and you don't have to actually put in money. If you do put in coins, they fall into a bank at the bottom of the phone. Here's a picture of it.

BTW, you can get a modular adapter that would fit over the 4-prong plug.

mannequin said...

"evil sister threw it in your angelic face", hnh? Why do I get the feeling we're not getting the full story here Elizabeth?

In my parents home, we have an old telephone chair (looks like a school chair with table attached) that used to sit in the hallway. Ours had the long cord as well.

It is amazing to me Elizabeth just how well you people take care of things.

marybt said...

That wallpaper is awesome!

So is the red phone.

No, I don't have any rotary phones, I'm too much of an instant gratification kind of girl to wait for the silly thing to go round and round and round and round ... seven to ten times. haha. :)

LADY JANES' EMPORIUM said...

Elizabeth...I have not stopped to "chat" in so long...I am sorry! Talk about chatting...My Mom STILL has the wall phone too...but oh the red princess phone...love it! Stop and say hello sometime soon!

Raggedy Girl said...

What a great post. I kind of like the idea of parents who have lived in one place forever. My Dad loved to move. I think that is a Princess phone. We were just talking about a day when a flat screen on your wall will do it all...TV, Cable, Phone, Internet, Shopping, Security, Baby Monitor etc.

Roberta Anne

Mrs. B. Silly said...

I miss those old phones, especially the classic kitchen wall phone!
One ringy dingey, B.

Susan said...

I was seventeen in '73 and loved Laugh-In. That shoulder rest was a blast to see again. Great post!

Blondie's Journal said...

Elizabeth,

This was just too funny (and an innovative idea for a post)!! I am addicted to my cell as is the whole family so we don't even have a home phone (and no telemarketers calling!)

I loved Ernestine!! "One ringy dingy...)

xoxo
Jane

Miri said...

Love the phones and the new look :)I think I wouldn't mind a hardwired phone...just think, no low battery beeping! We had a princess phone too, I loved how the dial lit up so I could use it under the covers ;0

JudyBug said...

My MIL has that exact phone still on the wall! The stories she can tell about the first phones. Only party lines in her part of town. Nosy neighbors listening to your calls. Oh the news that must have traveled that phone line!

Dorte H said...

What a cosy post. Good for people who have not laughed yet today, I am sure :)

We don´t have any of these phones now, but when we moved into our current home ten years ago there was an orange dial phone.

Louise said...

I really love the red Princess Phone!

I am just a little younger than you (but grew up in Denmark ;o) so I haven't seen the programme you mention.

But I can sure remember those phones w/ cords! I don't own a phone w/ a cord today, but my first phone was very stationary and I could not walk very far with it ;o) My parents did not get rid of their old phone until a few years ago, when they finally got a cordless one ;o)

Great post!

Dawn said...

My mom had a turquoise phone like the wall phone with the shoulder rest in her beauty shop! And a long cord. I often wish for one of those now when I get a crick in my neck with my various cordless phones and cell phone! I think we had those same stickers on there too! :)

Fifi Flowers said...

I have an OLD (WWII)dial phone from a brothel in Holland... a friend of ours re-worked it and we can actually use it... it is very neat! It's a great conversation piece!

Shelia said...

Hi Elizabeth! Oh, how I loved that show, the sniff and the pulling up of her bra straps! I liked these old phones, too! I think they really were made better.
Oh, you'll have to excuse me. Sometimes I'm just thinking in song titles and stuff just comes out! Some people probably wonder what I'm talking about! lol
Be a sweetie,

Shelia ;)

Stacey said...

I don't have any of those phones but I miss them! They were heavy, rang louder, and worked better. My friend has a couple of them and it's always a shocker to me when they ring.

Rechelle ~Walnuthaven Cottage~ said...

I love the old phones. In fact, just today I was telling my hubbs how I longed for an old phone, that had a real ringing bell...sigh. I miss those :0)

Helen said...

I was in my 30's in the 70's so of course I remember Laugh In .. and Ernestine! And Goldie and all the rest of the cast. And, because I'm so old, I remember our first phone number was 1231W and the next 1274R. On the old rotary style phones too ... those were the days my friend!

jeanne said...

Elizabeth, your post today is so much fun to read and view. The phones and the stories that go with them are priceless. I remember our phone when I was growing up. Black (hard wired) and no long cord. We had six kids and many of us teens at the same time. No one was allowed to hide with the phone. LOL.

Tanks for you visit and kind words. I am improving each day and feeling stronger too. This surgery is a long recovery but when done I will be so much better off.

Love your photo you snitched. Smile.

Hugs...Jeanne

countrymans said...

Yeah, I'm feelin it.. Aw when life was simpler.. ha.. Thanks for that walk down memory lane.

Elizabeth how do I add you to my list of blogs to follow?

countrymans said...

Forget I asked that last question.. I've got ya now.. Thank you!

farmlady said...

Laugh In, Ernestine, Princess phones? You have taken me down memory lane. My princess phone was pink. I loved it and I had it all to myself, in my bedroom. I was 16 and the world was a beautiful place.

Life on Bonnie Lane said...

I remember Ernestine from Laugh-In! She was a hoot. Those old phones are so fun too. I don't think that my brother has the old phones that my parents used in the house we grew up in, but I sure do remember them. I wonder if you can even use old rotary phones any more with the current phone lines!

Kady

Threeundertwo said...

I remember Ernestine well. She was hilarious.

I also remember the rotary phones in my parents' house and the huge luxury it was when we got the really long cord. They had 2 phones in a huge 3 story farm house.

I have to say I just adore the wallpaper I can see in that picture!

Kelly said...

I think I like the red one best. We still have a blue rotary floating around somewhere that was in the house I grew up in - now, it is a play toy, but nonetheless cherished! And, wow are they heavy! Like the new look. ~Kelly

SueLovesCherries said...

It reminds me of when I was a telephone operator in the mid-70's - still used the cord things like Ernestine!

Jan Ely said...

Wow, this is like the house where time stood still!!! I have a sister who works for the phone company who collects phones--she would love the ones you've shown!

gin said...

I love those phones. My sister still has a phone from the 70's

Lydia said...

My Mom passed away in 1999. She still had her phonewired into the wall in the kitchen. In fact, by her phone it looked a lot like your folks' phone area:) Tehe.

My sister and I had a phone(black) in our room, and my Dad had one in his basement office(really clutsy w/shoulder rest). We also had an intercom set up for a while.