Good-by Phone. Hello Change

Vintage Elgin Men's Wrist Watch, Sterling Silver Case, 7 Jewels Circa 1918

Do you know about the Time Lady?

“Who?” a group of young people at my discussion table asked.

“Used to be…watches had springs and they had to be wound up. Sometimes they ran fast. But usually, they ticked the seconds off slowly. If you asked a group of people what their watch showed, (of course, most people wore a watch—even kids). everyone would have a different time by a few minutes. This meant that before any important caper like blowing up the world or heisting artwork from a museum, crooks had to “sync” their watches.  But first…..somebody in the group had to call the Time Lady.

Actually, back in the 60s everybody called the Time Lady. Usually it was a free service provided by a bank or the electric company. The electronic pleasant-voiced woman would say something like…

“The time is … four thirty-three. The temperature is sixty-three degrees.”

Sometimes lonely people called the Time Lady over and over just to hear a  voice talking to them.

“You’ve got to be kidding!” The young folks shook their heads, appalled at such a hit or miss method to organize schools, trains, and dinnertime. “Well that explains a lot,” one of the young men said. “Now, can you tell me why this weird little barbell is on my icons? What’s that supposed to represent?” Because it sure doesn’t look like a phone.

iPhone: The Home Screen, the Tantalizing Empty Row, and the Four Major Applications

Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen. Change is coming faster.

Photos: watch-Joe Haupt, woman -Chris Golderg; phone-Pleter Ouwerkerk


9 thoughts on “Good-by Phone. Hello Change

  1. LOL, that is so funny! Kids today… it ferls so weird that things we had in the past are so strange to them. I forget how fast the technology development has gone.

  2. Our “time lady” was also a man. “At the tone, the time be 10:45 and 10 seconds. Bong. At the tone, the time will be 10:45 and 20 seconds. Bong.” We also had a weather man who told us the temperature and the humidity, as well as the forecast. If it was too humid, you had to wait until tomorrow to hang out the wash, as it wouldn’t dry. (Guess how old I am!)

    I never said “thank you” to the folks on the other end of the phone, but it took me almost a year to stop saying thank you when I stepped off a self-service elevator.

  3. Sure love the throwbacks you remind me of. I also remember the lady who said, “number please”, when you and then dialed for you. Does that tell you anything about how old I am and how many irksome changes I’ve endured?

  4. It was an honor to be chosen to make that call. You could be trusted to relay such precious information! The funny thing to me, is how there are no clocks in airports anymore. So often our phones have been turned off for travel, or packed deep into the backpack, and the only place that tells the time is the readout screen for departures/arrivals. I miss having public clocks!

    • Me too. The only reason I thought of this was I saw an old public clock on a street corner. The clock didn’t work, but they’d left it for its architectural design. Of course, when Apple releases their “bracelets” everyone will be wearing “watch/phones”. Hello…Dick Tracy. But then, I guess, I’ll have to explain who Dick Tracy was.

  5. I do remember the time lady! Mom would call or have one of us call and tell her what she said so she could check on the clocks. This was done regularly. “The time is 4:33 and 15 seconds.” We would shout the time to mom, then she would move to the next clock and let us know when to tell her what clock lady said, and so on until all were set right (except for the seconds).
    What is funny is that we always said thank you before hanging up!

    • Oh Rose…you’re right. I forgot that part. We were trained so well we said “Thank-you” or “Good-bye” before hanging up. Unfortunately, with today’s timepieces there’s no excuse to be late for curfew and we can’t say, “But my watch shows I’m right on time.”

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