Home Phone

I read a (heartwarming? terrifying?) news story this morning about a three year old girl who saved her father’s life by walking two blocks to a fire station to get help when he fell unconscious. Her parents had taught her that she could always go to a fire station if she needed help, and she did.

I try not to read too many stories about kids Harper’s age, because it makes me anxious. My first thought on reading it was the realization that I don’t know where our closest fire station is, and it’s never occurred to me to tell Harper to go there. It also made me realize that I don’t quite know how to teach Harper about what to do in an emergency in these days of high-tech everything.

We’re thinking pretty seriously about giving up our land-line phone. We never call out on it, and even the church folks who used to use it now pretty much always call my cell. I miss it for several reasons: I liked how it felt to hold it to my ear – especially for long conversations with long-distance friends and family. I always get a kink in my neck when talking for long on my cell phone. And I miss talking to people who aren’t really calling for me – like Rob’s family; they always call his cell, and my family always calls mine, so we never get to talk to each other.

But here’s a new reason: How do I teach Harper to dial 911 if we don’t have a home phone? In an emergency, she’d have to find one of our phones – which could be in any number of pockets or bags – then figure out how to unlock it, then navigate the tiny buttons that are also keyboard letters. Even helping her memorize her own phone number doesn’t make sense anymore: should she learn mine or Rob’s?

I know she’ll have her own phone before we know it – or pretty soon, we’ll all have them implanted in our ears or something. But in the meantime, how do we do this?

I’m starting to sound like a Luddite. Or old. Or both. I miss film, I miss landline phones… In my next post, I’ll be grieving the loss of the telegram.



  • How’s this for Luddite – I’m actually in the process of killing my cell phone. When my current plan expires, I’m going to switch to a pay-as-you-go emergency-only-non-plan, and use my church & home phones for communication. I decided I’m tired of having three numbers, and even though I’ve loved how easily it is to keep in touch w/ a cell, I need more quiet.

  • I just had to google Luddite.

    We don’t have a landline but I always thought once we have kids we’d have one again… it is hard to justify the expense though, huh?

  • Oh, you are such a fantastic writer! Your on-going blog is the most precious thing I’ve been honored to read. I love the name and how it came to be.

    Now I know why I speak to you so rarely! No more will the son of mine hog the phone! I’ll call my much-loved daughter (in-law) and hear her lovely voice.

    Suggestions for emergencies:

    Turn off both your phones. Have her practice dialing “911” and saying what the emergency is. This is actually a saftey rule all of us are told to do. In an emergency and if we are paniced, we all can forget “911” or misdial. The more we practice, the better. And practice the script as well.

    And/or code one (1) number in on both phones that is the emergency number so Harper doesn’t have to dial “911.” Again, practice, practice, practice.

    Take a walk to a neighbor (or several) who have agreed to help in an emergency. Practice the script. Having a neighbor to run to under any strange or unusual circumstances is a good practice.

    I’ll bet you’ve already thought of these things. That mind is always working…

    Love you so much!


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