A My Private Coney project Flash non-fiction, brief moments and old memories of a city and mother's emotional and physical real estate disappearing at the speed of heartbreak.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Sunday Memories: Playing Telephone
This is a telephone.
Florence's apartment has one just like this in her kitchen.
You stick your finger in one of those holes and then rotate the dial for each number of the number you are calling.
You can walk and talk on this phone as far as the cord goes.
A long time ago, like in the 1970's, when the phone company owned everything, this was the official phone of the apartment. Any extra phone, you had to pay extra. Nobody paid extra. We all had illegal phones. All wired up to this main phone with splices and electrical tape. If the phone company suddenly appeared at your door you had to quickly dismantle all the jerry-rigged illegal phones and hide them.
One time the guy showed up unexpected and I got my hair wet so he'd think I had been in the shower and that's why I kept him waiting outside the door, but really I was dismantling our extensions. And another time the phone guy grilled me for 5 minutes insisting there must be other phones in the house because he couldn't believe three girls could share one phone that resided in a then bedroom. I insisted we were all very close and could. He knew I was hiding ill-gotten equipment.
Then everything changed and the phone company owned nothing. The height of modern technology was pushing buttons instead of sticking fingers in holes. That and longer cords. Then things got crazy and you didn't need cords or wires at all.
Now, you don't even need a home to have a phone.
What I love most about this phone: during the blackout and 911 it still worked.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.