Memories Conjured By Confused Child

Posted on July 18, 2011


I learned how to "dial" a number on a phone just like the tan one above. We had it for many years.

“Hang it up,” we said.

“How do I hang it up?” The Girl asked.

She was holding the hotel phone. The cord sagged between the cradle and the child. She looked at the receiver and back at us.

The Girl enjoys grabbing things and asking about them, playing with them, and generally finding out all she can about the object in question.  Trust me, this will continue until she is completely satisfied with your answers, or until you tell her to “drop it.”

Of course, she hopefully understands that you don’t mean to literally drop it.

So, as Kokkiree and I were taking becoming prostrate on the hotel bed, The Girl was entertaining herself with discovering what new things the hotel room had that perhaps other hotel rooms did not have.

The Girl really loves hotels.  So much so, that I have no concerns about her adjusting to traveling cross-country and staying in random hotels where we stop.

She loves them because, for her, they are new.  They represent opportunity and experience.  So whenever we go somewhere and stay in a hotel, she’s almost more excited by the hotel than the place.  When we went to the Keys last summer, she remembers the awesome hotel room and bed and the pool.  She remembers other things, but she will talk about the hotel.

And so, this time, she was excited by our stay-cation because she was able to stay in a new hotel.

So there she stood, with the receiver in hand, wondering what to do with what.

The Girl picked up a hotel phone and couldn't figure out how to "hang it up."

“You have to put the receiver, the thing you’re holding, back in the cradle,” I said.


“Put it back down where you got it from,” said Kokkiree.

“Why do I have to put it there?  Does that hang it up?”

I started to chuckle (definition of chuckle: Laugh quietly or inwardly).

Definition needed because of disagreement with Kokkiree on the different types of laughs.  We actually spent a dinner conversation trying to iron out the qualities of different types of laughs.

But, what made me laugh was the realization that she really had little idea how the phone would work.  I recognized she would be one of those kids who didn’t know what a tape deck was, or a floppy drive, or even a wired phone.

Thankfully, she’s been exposed to CDs and vinyl and typewriters.  She’s asked questions about how old toys work, and how such and such works.  It is useful having an inquisitive child.  She makes teaching easy.

But, it did make me think about what it was she might not learn that I learned as a child.  And that made me think about what it was we were teaching our kids these days, and if teaching them the same things we did when we were growing up would be of any use considering they really don’t need to know much of the things we needed to know.

That, of course, is a different post on the value of education and the direction of education.  That is for another day and another post (trust me…I’m thinking about it).

My phone upon which The Girl likes to play Angry Birds and even more Angry Birds.

So, I’m glad that The Girl now knows what a push-button wired-phone looks like and how to hang it up.  She doesn’t have to tap a magic screen that says “End Call.”  Now perhaps she’ll know why people say, “hang up the phone.”

Or do kids nowadays say “End Call?”

Either way, what are some other things you lament about your youth that your child might not have the chance to learn?

How to use a VHS and hit rewind before returning the video?

Recording a song off the radio onto your cassette?

Big fat televisions?

Commodore Vic 20?

Using real film in a camera?

Life before caller ID?

LEGOs only being square?

Starbuck being a space pilot and not a coffee chain?