In the dustbin of our cultural history

Weh lived in a modern house in the late 60’s. The words we used were “Front Room” and “Family Room”, but I also remember the term “rumpus room”.

In our house (modern then), the “Front Room” did get used. It contained my dad’s leather chair, and my mother’s rocker, a bookcase and a record player, so it was were we kids read and played records. I think dad probably read the paper and listened to the radio in that room. It wasn’t closed off, because in the ‘modern’ house, there was no door from the front hallway, and it was divided from the ‘dining room’ by some kind of 3/4 height storage partition, with another open passage.

The ‘Family room’ with the TV adjoined the kitchen, separated by a low breakfast bar.

I don’t recall anyone mentioning “Blue Laws”.

When I moved to Missouri in 1966 from NYC, I was surprised to find that the grocery, and most other stores were not open on Sundays. Drug stores were, and gas stations, but you couldn’t buy most items that were on the shelves. The chain drug store, Katz was the one near me, had lots of stuff you couldn’t buy on Sunday. Oil for your car, sure, kite string, nope. Toilet tissue, OK, A puzzle for the kids, nope.

I just read that in some states women couldnt serve on juries until 1967! :scream:

Yes, I don’t recall a movie named “12 Angry Men and Women”.

In 1974, my little brother bought a box full of phones, wiring, etc from a classmate who came into possession of the stuff nefariously. He told our parents he bought the stuff at a surplus shop.

My brother loved electronics and projects. Before long he’d installed phones throughout our home. Along with the original phone in the dining room, we soon had bedroom phones, along with one in a bathroom.

The only problem was that each added phone caused a decrease in each phone’s power, so that the rrrrring became very quiet.

Oh, yeah. I remember Blue Laws in NJ - apparently some are still in effect https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_laws_in_the_United_States#New_Jersey

Yes, Bergen County, NJ still has some laws that I was not familiar with.
I was visiting someone and stopped at a bakery along the way. I stepped into a puddle getting out of my car resulting in wet socks. My next stop was a chain drugstore where they not sell me socks on a Sunday. :frowning_face:

In 1957 I spent a few months in Poughkeepsie NY. The law required that any car parked on the street at night have an illuminated lantern attached to the rear bumper. They actively ticketed violations so all cars had them. Of course the easy way to get a lantern was to move one from another car. So, most lanterns were held by cables or chains. And, if the lantern ran out of fuel during the night you got a ticket so more than one lantern was needed, Some cars had half a dozen railroad lanterns chained to the rear bumper.

Since I was there for computer school it seemed like a strange anachronism by comparison.

No big secret or story, or even the phone bill.

It’s because she went away to college shortly afterwards. So the phone got taken out. There wasn’t any pressing need for it.

LOL - they had a thing against socks.

The funny thing was the phone company could test your line and detect roughly how many phones you had connected. That was their threatened enforcement mechanism against people adding illicit extensions without paying for them.

But what they actually detected was the number of ringers on the line. Through the same electrical phenomenon that resulted in your 6 phones having weak rings.

The fix, which your bro could have done, was to disconnect just the ringer on most of the phones. So you could have, say, 10 phones connected, but just, say, 3 of them rang. The phone co couldn’t be sure enough that 3 was more than the 1 you’re paying for, so they’d leave you alone. And 3 would be noisy enough across the whole house that no matter where the people were they’d hear it. But you could talk on any of the 10.

I’m reminded of this by the discussion of blue laws…

It was not uncommon for businesses in small southern towns to close on Wednesday afternoons. For example, the hardware store would be open until 5:00P every weekday, but close at noon on Wednesday and then be open on Saturday morning. I was given two different explanations for this. One was that this arrangement allowed stores to be open on Saturday and not exceed 40 hours/week. The other was that Wednesday evening were for prayer meetings, and often for church dinners. It was convenient to close down early on Wednesdays to permit time to prepare for the evening activities. Whatever the reason, it was pretty consistent.

Local stores selling on credit seems to have gone away. This was a system where rather than paying for your items at the time, the store would record what you bought and either send you a bill or you’d pay at the store later. I remember the grocery, pharmacy, and hardware stores did this when I was young. The clerk would write the amount in a book and my parents would pay later. It wasn’t always easy to get cash from the bank, so this kind of system made it easy to buy what you needed at any time. I guess it only worked in small communities where the store knew who the regular shoppers were. Now with more banks, atms, and credit cards, this kind of credit system isn’t really needed anymore.

I grew up in suburban NJ in the 70s and early 80s and my friend’s family had an account at the local grocery store. He was half Japanese, so pretty distinctive in our town. There was another kid in town that was also half Japanese and he used to go into the store and order stuff on my friend’s family’s account, and the shopkeepers never thought to question it.

We also ran a scam for phone calls from college, in the days when you could charge calls to your home account. We’d pick a business in town that was sure to be closed, and use that as our “home” number. The operator would call that number for permission to charge the LD call we were making from the dorm pay phone, and of course no one was there to confirm (sometimes you’d have to explain, “of course no ones there”) and they’d put the call through. This trick mostly stopped working after a few years, and answering machines stopped it entirely.

I’m actually a bit ashamed that we did this too. And there were frequently illicit numbers written on the wall we could try to charge calls to. I think we rationalized it as just hurting the phone company, and hey, it didn’t cost them anything for these calls to go through (calls we never would have made if we had to pay for them). Of all the crimes I have committed, this one is the one I think was the most immoral.

Kids today probably don’t realize how expensive long distance charges were, and that the only alternative was sending letters.

I spent some time on a small family ranch in Montana in 2008. While there, I was able to drive into town (a very small town. The closest Walmart was 3 hours away.), pick up the family mail (“picking up mail for the s”) without question and buy stuff on account at the small store, (I think they even knew who I was without telling) and I’d never been introduced to any of these people. The account was a box of file cards. The clerk pulled the right card and wrote down whatever the purchase was. I grew up pretty rural, but that was far beyond anything I had ever experienced. It felt so very nice.

I think I’ve seen devices where you can hook a cell phone to a standard phone line. If she doesn’t use the cell phone for walking/wheeling around, that enable you to have it plugged in all the time and hence charge.

We still have a landline (mostly because I’m retired AT&T and get a steep discount). At least twice I’ve picked it up to find no dial tone. No idea how long it had been out, and it took 2-3 days to repair. Talking to the repair guy, the problem wasn’t my specific line so lots of people in theory could have been out, but with so few people using/having landlines any more, it was never reported.

Since we’re on a landline highjack, I have a beautiful rotary phone my now wife gave me when we were dating. I was living at my parent’s house at the time where there was a landline, and I used it heavily until we got married. Since then we haven’t had a landline. We would both very much like to have one (her to avoid “where can I find my phone” during emergencies, I just so I can use my rotary phone), but we can’t justify the surprisingly high cost when we’re already paying for cell phones. And we already have DSL internet service, so it wouldn’t seem that the added cost to the utility would be that high.

If you just want a conventional phoneline for “fun” a cheap alternative is
https://www.magicjack.com/
For $40 per year you get a gizmo that plugs into your internet router and gives you a conventional phone line and phone number you can plug any old-fashioned landline phone(s) into.

I’ve used this for my home office fax line for years. Paying $40/month for a landline would be stupid, given how rarely I fax. But $40/year? Sure. And once you’re a subscriber there’s always a sale or multi-year deal going.

You might want to check that they can in fact perform dialing from a rotary phone. It’d be a shame to sign up and discover you could only receive calls. Or else you’d need to plug in two old-fashioned phones, one with a keypad to dial, plus the rotary to talk on.

There’s another old-phone memory. We had a phone with a key pad, and on the back there was a tone/pulse switch. If you set it to pulse it would dial like a rotary phone (you could hear it clicking if you held it up to your ear). Handy for places where touch-tone dialing hadn’t made it yet (or cheap folks unwilling to pay the upcharge to enable it).