I was in the main office at school, and a second grader came in to call his mom. The secretary made the call, connected with the parent, and then handed the phone over the counter toward the student. 

When he didn’t move to take the phone, she said, “Your mom wants to talk to you, hon.” 

The student stood up on his tiptoes and leaned in to get his head closer to the receiver. The secretary gave it a little shake, saying, “Go ahead and take it.” 

He looked at that phone the way I’d look at a boa constrictor if you asked me to hold one. Pointing at the top/earpiece, he asked, “Is this the part I talk into?” 

There were four adults in the office at that moment, and all four of our heads did that tip to the side thing that happens when you see something you can’t quite believe you are seeing. All four of us realized in that moment that this second grader had never handled a phone with a cord before. All of his phone experiences in eight years of life must have been of the cell variety, and he legit had no idea how to use a phone that was not shaped like a deck of cards. 

After a long pause, she leaned in to patiently show him how to hold this device (that is clearly racing toward extinction) up to his ear and mouth. 

And the rest of us did our best not to feel like dinosaurs.


  1. Jessica Carey

    Oh my goodness! That’s too funny. That made me think of my second grader who called me from my mom’s landline yesterday. When she was done talking she asked me to hang up because she didn’t know how to end the call. Even the cordless phones are dinosaurs.


  2. cvarsalona

    I can imagine that scene, Amy. We are so used to being dinosaurs that we forget the little ones are from an entirely different age. I remember the phone booth and I did see one in a museum as an artifact.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lainie Levin

    Wait…you mean this phone has a TAIL? Ha!

    I wonder what the kids in our classrooms would think of that phone. Each of our classrooms still has one, but I wonder how much attention they actually pay to it. Now you’ve got me thinking!

    As for outdated technology, there’s a muralist working in one of the hallways at my school and he has…GET THIS…an OVERHEAD PROJECTOR. I mean…right?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fran Haley

    Sigh. Even more fascinating is their reaction to a rotary phone (heavens, I can barely recall that myself!). At least many of our youngster know what vinyl albums are, since they’re kind of cool again. What a fun story.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Stacey Shubitz

    I loved reading this, Amy! I, too, tipped my head to the side when I got to the part where he asked which side was for talking.
    My parents still have phones with cords so my kids have seen them. However, there are plenty of things that came from my childhood that they’d have no idea what to do with given the way technology has advanced!


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