Remember phone booths?

Let’s take a step into the past — phone booths. For those of you who may not know what I’m talking about, let me enlighten you about the days before widespread cell phones and why you might have kept a quarter in your sock as a kid.

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on

Phone booths were telephones that were located inside some buildings and outside businesses or on random street corners. I always put a quarter in my sock so that if I needed to call anybody, I would be able to. You’d put your quarter in it and you got to make a (local) call. If you wanted a long-distance call you either had to use more money or call collect (meaning the other person would pay for the phone call).

I remember pulling up to a phone booth in my car when it was raining one day. I rolled the window up (yes, car windows weren’t always electric, you had to actually roll it up using a handle), leaving just enough space for the cord. It felt like paradise getting to talk IN MY CAR to somebody. I remember thinking “wow, I wish I could just take my phone with me.” One day I tested how this might feel and took my cordless phone from my house and drove as far as I could before it cut me off from my conversation with my friend. I was like “wow, this would be so cool to be able to do.” Well, we now know, of course that it’s also dangerous.

Let me clarify something here about my age. Cell phones DID exist much of my late teens, but they were SO expensive. Out of this world expensive. I once got a “bag phone” and paid $80 for ONE CALL when I was lost one day. I also remember wishing I could take my bag phone into the grocery store with me. Little did I know then that phones would become mini computers. Crazy to think now how little we had in the way of cell phones.

But back to phone booths. I sometime miss them. I sometimes miss that freedom of not constantly being available, but, honestly, I’d never trade my cell phone for the phone booth days. But phone booths do feel very nostalgic to me. I never realized they’d just disappear one day. There are places where they still exist like courthouse buildings or correctional facilities, but most of them are gone from street corners. Gone from the dark corner of the bar where people called for their rides when they had one too many.

Do you have any phone booth memories? Share in comments!

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