Romancing The Phone…

These days, when so many of us communicate regularly online with people we may never actually meet in person, it’s easy for us to forget that there was a time when such relationships were a very rare thing indeed. Oh sure, many people had “pen pal” type relationships through the mail, many of which I know were of a romantic nature. And there were, of course, all kinds of business-related relationships that developed over the phone, but before the advent of so-called “phone sex” lines, I don’t think those relationships had much of an “emotional” element to them.

Well I did have a deeply felt over-the-phone relationship once, and, for some reason, I awoke this morning with the memories of that relationship swirling around in my mind…

It all happened entirely by accident, really. It was the winter of 1969 / 1970, beginning just before my fourteenth birthday. I was living in my oldest sister’s two bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, California, with her and her four kids. As you can imagine, that wasn’t the most comfortable living arrangement, and my sister had developed the habit of spending as much time away from the apartment as she could, leaving me stuck there, in that small apartment, babysitting her kids.

But my sister wasn’t completely without a conscience apparently, although I might have argued differently at the time, and she did at least attempt to check in on us while she away. I say “attempt” because my niece, who was barely three years younger than I was, had gotten into the annoying habit of yakking away for hours on end on the phone with one of her schoolmates.

Since this was way before “call waiting” came along, my sister couldn’t get through when she called, and we had no way of even knowing that she had even tried. And that, of course, left me in the unenviable position of both hearing my sister bitch about having to “worry” that something “bad” might have happened (a problem easily solved, of course, by simply keeping her ass at home), and being assigned the task of limiting my niece’s time on the phone so she could have the “peace of mind” she needed to enjoy her time away.

And it was being assigned this most unwanted “phone monitor” job that led to my “entirely accidental telephone romance”…

One day, after losing track of time myself while watching TV (for those who’ve wondered where my long standing TV addiction first began, you now have your answer), it occurred to me that it was probably time for my niece to give give the phone a rest. Having had that argument many times before, this time I decided to just grab the phone from her and apologize to her friend before hanging it up myself – and found myself listening to, rather than giving, the exact same apology!

Apparently, my niece’s friend also had a babysitter who’d been tasked with the job of limiting her time on the phone. And, after a short, embarrassing conversation to clear up the confusion, we ended up spending most of what remained of the evening chatting away on the phone ourselves – my sister’s “concerns” having been completely blown away by my raging teenage hormones working in concert with an instantaneous “soul mate” type connection that captured us both in a spell that was nothing short of magical!

And thus began our deeply felt (on my part at least), entirely-over-the-phone romance. One with an emotional impact that has remained with me to this very day…

Now you’re probably wondering at this point why we never actually met face to face. That’s where the story get’s a little embarrassing I’m afraid. Well, quite a bit embarrassing actually! You see, after talking with “my new sweetheart” only over the phone for days on end, we finally did get around to discussing such a face to face meeting. Unfortunately, that’s also when I discovered, to my complete amazement, that this hormonally charged fourteen year old boy had spent all that time talking to, and falling “in love” with, a nineteen year old woman!

It’s funny, now, and at my current age, to think of how few eyebrows would be raised by me having a relationship with a woman a mere five years my senior. But I can’t think of any point in history when a nineteen year old woman dating a fourteen year old boy wouldn’t have been frowned upon. Hell, nowadays that woman might well be brought up on “corrupting a minor” charges, if not for outright pedefilia!

Just how we could have spent so much time talking without ever discovering our staggering age difference is completely beyond my ability to explain. All I can say for sure is that, although I was wracked with guilt over what I knew but she didn’t every second that it lasted beyond that point, I knew that I did NOT want to give that relationship up – which put me in the extremely uncomfortable position of having to repeatedly come up with excuses for why I couldn’t make this or that suggested meeting – just so I could hang on to it for a little while longer!

Well, to keep an already too long story from getting any longer, I ended up being saved from having my lies exposed (not to mention a possible asskicking), when my sister decided that she’d had enough of my crap and sent me packing back to Ohio to live with my mother again. If you’re curious as to the “crap” I’m referring to, not to mention the “crap” that resulted in me being in Los Angeles in the first place, you can read about it in my More Environmental Impact and Tolerance… Not! Race posts.

As for this sordid little tale, although I don’t remember my telephone sweetheart’s name, I will never forget her, or the crazy, wonderful, months we spent “romancing the phone”…

Which, I guess, is why I’ve always had a profound emotional connection to these two songs as well…

Update: I captured the following image from Google Maps, showing a satellite view of the apartment building in L.A. that I lived in during the time of this story. I think it’s so cool that it’s still there, over 40 years later, almost exactly as I remember it! 😀

Each building in the complex had 4 apartments downstairs and 4 apartments upstairs.
Mine was upstairs where I’ve positioned the red dot.

I want ice water.

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21 thoughts on “Romancing The Phone…

  1. Wow, the memories you’ve stirred! Not so much of unrequited telephone romance (though there certainly were boyfriends) but just teenage phone time. You can imagine the hours logged by five siblings in the same house, especially when one of my sisters was just 18 months younger than me. Oh the fights we had over the phone and who’s turn it was! Worse, my dad was a doctor that people had to reach. With no call waiting, the solution was two phone lines, managed with a nifty little button on each phone that could be turned to switch from one line to the other. One of the phone jacks was in a large, walk-in coat closet by the front door, and that served as our private “phone booth.” (Teenage sisters can be so nosy!)

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    • You know PT, although I’m sure there have been times, this was the only time I can actually remember spending, let alone wanting to spend, so much time on the phone. Hell, now that I think about it, I don’t recall anyone else in my whole family liking to spend as much time on the phone as my niece did, at least before the younger ones got cell phones. I cringe at the thought of multiple copies of her squabbling over who’s turn it is to yak on and on about nothing! 😯

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    • Unfortunately, my life has been all too much like a work of fiction for me to seriously consider writing fiction of my own renxkyoko. And as for “happy endings,” I lost my faith in those when I tried reconnecting with the girl I’d left behind (my first love) when I moved to Los Angeles. I wrote about that in my Love, Loss, Anger, and Faith post…

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    • Thanks. Not remembering her name, searching for never even occurred to me. But my niece still lives in L.A. If she’s still friendly with the girl she used to yak on the phone with, then she could get her name from her for me! 😀

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  2. If anyone cares, I’ve added a capture image from Google Maps to this post showing an aerial view of that apartment in L.A. that I lived in during the time of this story. I think it’s so cool that it’s still there, almost exactly as I remember it, over 40 years later! 😀

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  3. Now in my younger days IzaakMak, we couldnt afford a phone to the house, so had to walk up the other end of the village to use the phone box… Unlike the younger generation today who never look up from their mobile devises …
    Lovely how one memory leads us to another… Great your old apartments still there… 🙂

    Dropping in to visit … sending you more than a few thoughts your way my friend
    Sue

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    • You know, now that you mention it Sue, I actually don’t remember having a phone in the house before moving to Los Angeles. Maybe THAT’S why I never became attached to using one! 🙄

      Your visits are treasured here! 😀

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        • I’m so sorry for the long absence Sue. I keep marking for post notifications so I’ll remember their importance, but the notifications from the blogs I follow come in so fast that I just can’t keep up! 😳

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          • 🙂 your forgiven,… Im way behind on my catch ups… but as I subscribe to over 100 and they come in daily posts my inbox alread over 300 and I had a clearing out only 4 days ago 🙂
            Dont beat yourself up! LOL…..I often spend an hour viewing past posts on one blog… LOL… but dont always comment on everyone, that would take me even longer… juggling with work, granny sitting, and my hobbies, the PC World of Blog has taken a back seat recently… so do not worry…. I keep my eye on you from emails LOL 😉

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              • LOL…. now thats alot.. I would delete and start again! I always start with the best of intentions even trying to answer some via my phone, but when people blog every day,,,, ( I dont ) then its hard to keep up, so why try… So I work backwards from my comments then through my list..
                Enjoy your evening, and yes I so understand! 🙂

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                  • We shouldn’t look upon it as a struggle, but if we visit a few and leave an encouraging word here or there, it makes me feel good too..
                    Ive been absent for a few days and my stats show it.. 😉

                    Look after yourself IzaakMak…. and do what YOU know you can cope with…. I used to feel guilty if i didnt get around everyone and would spend Hours on the PC… much to Hubbies annoyance LOL.. Now I visit when I am able to..and worry less….
                    🙂 🙂 🙂

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