A Thing of the Past

The Doctor is Always Within Reach

Vintage ad Mallory Electronics 1949

 A Thing of the Past

Today when it is unthinkable to go anywhere without your smartphone in hand, it’s hard to imagine the excitement and wonderment generated by this post war ad that hinted at the future possibility of a mobile car phone that functioned merely as a…. phone.

Traditionally, progress was what Americans could always count on…new and better ways of doing things.

Replacing one convenience for a new improved model that would irrevocably improve your life for the better has always been the American Way.

Calling All Doctors!

Mallory Electronics

It may be two in the morning raining buckets but in 1949 you could always count on Dr. Higgins. Like the US mail neither rain nor snow nor dark of night could stop the beloved family doctor from making a house call.

When a call for help comes the doctor can’t say no!

But imagine the time when Doc Higgins can be reached even when he’s at the wheel of his old Buick just by picking up his mobile phone. That was the near future offered up to the hopeful reader in this optimistic 1949 advertisement.

Thanks to Mallory, a manufacturer of parts for modern electronic equipment and their contribution to the future of the mobile phone, “the family doctor would always be within reach of his patients. In emergencies he can give directions over the phone as he speed to the side of the stricken.”

“Modern miracles of communication were already happening,” the ad explains. “The spoken message is no longer chained to fixed routes defined by existing wire lines. With equipment now available, explained by Mallory “oral messages can now be sent from one moving vehicle to another and to central control points.”

Call Waiting

Doctors Smoking!

The Doctor Makes his Rounds.

“Wherever he goes, he is welcome…his life is dedicated to serving others” the copy in the ad reads. ” Not all his calls are associated with illness. He is often friend and counselor. His satisfactions in life are reflected in the smiling faces of youngsters like this one and countless others whom he has long attended. Yes, the doctor represents an honored profession…his professional reputation and his record of service are his most cherished possessions.”

Of course this illustration appeared in a 1946 ad for Camels cigarettes, where our kindly family doctor heartily endorses smoking, so perhaps his professional reputation was less than sterling.

Of course modern miracles of communications like the car phone did come to pass, but the idea of a doctor making house calls has become as antiquated as the ad itself.

You may be able to speed dial your doctor on your mobile phone but good luck in getting a timely appointment.

Now all you can count on in our ailing health care system is interminable office waits and astronomical costs.

Today, the smart phone has replaced the car phone but the house call by a family doctor…irreplaceable.

I’m Just Sayin’

I'm Just Sayin'

You may not realize it, but busy sucks. Relaxation rules. If you are running in a thousand different directions week after week, please rethink your priorities. It’s wearing you down. It’s wearing your kids down. Being worn down sucks. And a grouchy, over tired family is a bickering, complaining, unhappy family.

If your kids eat dinner three nights a week on their way to activities —rethink those activities. If you are on the PTA, teacher appreciation committee, soccer snacks, and concession stand duty you have overextended yourself. Sure, parents do need to pitch in, but pick the jobs that allow you to be with your family. The world will continue to spin if you decline a few volunteer jobs. Volunteer at home. Volunteer to help your kids with their homework. Volunteer to rebound for your son, or hit tennis balls with your daughter. Volunteer to make popcorn for a card playing evening or a family movie night. If you haven’t watched a movie or television show with your kids in a month, you are missing valuable talking time. And believe me, kids will not tell you about their lives when they are late for karate, or being fitted for a cheerleading outfit. They need time to open up—time to connect.

photo ~ teendriving.statefarm.com

And yes, I do believe that teenagers are a good audience when they are trapped in your car, use that time smartly. Pretend like you are casually interested and then listen hard. But remember that very shortly they will be driving and your talk moments will have to find un-rushed time at some other point.

Don’t pass by your husband or boyfriend either. It makes him feel unimportant. Don’t spend hours telling him all you do. Sure, he needs to know, but if you are that busy don’t spend your only moments together bitching and moaning. Take time to hug. Male egos do not like to be last on your busy schedule. Slow down. Spend the evening relaxing. Talk. Give a back rub. Get a foot rub. Make love. Don’t be too busy for your relationship. Consequences are dire.

people-walking-on-path

Find time to really connect with your kids—with your mother—with your sister—with your girlfriends. That’s why there’s Starbucks. Be there for them. Life is all about relationships. Those people at the bake sale will not hold your hand when you have a biopsy. Spend time on real life. Never blow off a girlfriend when she calls with a real problem. Don’t rush past your family and never get to know them. I’ll bet you still have much to discover about your kids. But you will never truly know them if you do not spend time with them. If you are hauling them here and there to hang out with others, just remember they are not hanging out with you. As they grow they might never even see the need for hanging out with you. That’s not good.

Don’t be too busy for those who truly matter. Someday when you need someone, you don’t want your family to be too busy for you. I’m just sayin’.

 

Siri – The Voice with a Smile?

Welcome home Mac! The first Mac Pro to be Made in America will be unleashed in December. This news got us to thinking about all things Mac and we zoomed in on Siri because the real voice of Siri was recently uncovered.

Siri Speaks!

Exactly two years after Siri made her auspicious debut on October 4, 2011, the mystery woman’s identity can now be revealed. Apple’s voice activated virtual assistant never quite took off in popularity the way Apple envisioned her, but the closely guarded identity of the oft time snarky Siri has been widely speculated.

According to CNN, she is an Atlanta based voice over actress named Susan Bennett.

Though Apple is being cagey and won’t confirm it, the sleuths at CNN found audio forensic experts to back up the actresses claim.

Would You Repeat That Again?

Staying connected with the assistance of a disconnected female voice is nothing new.

Once upon a time, the alert, courteous voice of the telephone operator was known to everyone who used the telephone. Siris’ snippy voice and quirky personality stands in contrast to the golden age of telephone operators who possessed the “voice with a smile.”

The Voice With a Smile

Bell Telephone Ad 1940

Vintage Bell Telephone Ad 1940s The familiar "Voice With a Smile' operator

Telephone operators were known for their courtesy. “It’s nice to pick up the telephone,” ads would point out, “and hear an alert friendly voice come over the wire.”

“The voice with a smile” was the familiar AT&T slogan used from the 1930’s through the 1950’s . The ads visualized the cheerful sound of the company’s female operators painting a pretty face on the happy voice of the phone worker.

The speech of operators was firmly regulated through strict codes of appropriate responses enforced by supervisors listening unannounced on operators line.

“Operator ~ May I Help You?

"The Bell system appreciates your patronage, and tries to deserve it"

From the beginning, the occupation of switchboard operators was almost exclusively female. Women were valued not only because of their gentle voice, and nimble fingers , but as an added bonus, they worked for lower wages.

According to Lana Rakow in “Women and the Telephone.” an article in The American Telephone Journal of 1902 explained why female operators were desirable: “The dulcet tones of the feminine voice seem to exercise a soothing and calming effect upon the masculine mind, subduing irritation and suggesting gentleness of speech and demeanor, thereby avoiding unnecessary friction”

What Number Did You Want?

Vintage Bell Telephone Ads

From the 1930’s through the 1950’s AT&T recruited female employees through popular women’s magazines such as American Girl, Senior Prom and True Story, appearing next to ads for weight loss, feminine itch relief and bust creams.

Ads emphasized how important women were to the telephone industry. “170,000 women are employed by the Bell system,” one ad stated. “More than half of the 315,000 employees of the Bell System are women. They are your friends and neighbors- living in the same section of the country. They average length of service is about ten years.”

Perhaps courtesy and manners have gone the way of the telephone, which itself is beginning to feel rather antiquated.

 

Our USA Summer Must Reads!

We realize there any number of noteworthy and popular summer reading lists – from a selection by the New York Times and Washington Post, to Publishers Weekly, Scholastic Times, and of course the “how to live your best life” selections from Ms. “O”. So we thought we would put together a shout-out of very fine books from our contributors that we thought should be a must read! (Click on the Page Cover and you will be taken to Amazon for easy purchase.)

A Piece of Her Mind By Amy McVay Abbott

Visit a universe where roosters crow 24/7 and The Rolling Stones perform unnoticed on the neighbor’s lawn. Journalist Amy McVay Abbott shares 35 of “The Raven Lunatic” newspaper columns in this romp that will keep you laughing from start to finish. Abbott celebrates Vince Lombardi’s birthday every December, and hopes forever whiter teeth and world peace. Put down your Smart Phone, enjoy a “hot oven meal,” and explore the world of “The Raven Lunatic.”

 

The New Orleans Way  By Liz Newman

Everything comes at a price. Love. Security. Even happiness. On the day of her debutante ball, Rosemarie Kuhn is heralded at “The Next Great Lady of New Orleans.” Despite her love for the lowborn private detective Michael Hennessy, she is betrothed by her mother to marry General George C. Boas. Spurned by the general and a false marriage certificate, she guns him down in front of his favorite tavern at St. Anthony Street. With her family’s income in jeopardy, her home is turned into a casino for high class patrons funded by the first families who brought The Mafia to the United States. As her love for detective Michael Hennessy grows, she is torn from her desire for him and the promise she made to her dying mother.

Giant Killers By Mark Barkawitz

Hidden behind dark sunglasses, long hair and a beard, a mysterious young man in shorts and sleeveless T-shirt runs the streets of a small town in Middle America. Store fronts are closed. The unemployed, like Darwin Charles, sleep on bus benches no longer on bus routes. The factory around which the town has grown, now struggles to stay open. So why has the runner returned when so many others are escaping? At the park, he meets Willy Wood, a fatherless little leaguer who, like his teammates, can’t catch the baseball. When pressed for information, the runner remains elusive, like the answers to the town’s economic woes. The novel tells the story of this fatherless little leaguer and his single mom, who find their fortunes changing when a mysterious stranger arrives.

 Mae’s Open Arms By Shelly Gail Morris

All she wants is a place to call home… and to be able to dance again. The summer before her junior year of high school Amanda has lost her joy in life. After not making the dance team, she’s engulfed in self loathing and bad decisions. One hot afternoon, during a bad drug trip, an old friend, Jered, rescues her. His nonjudgmental, blue eyes remind her of happier times, easier times, before her father left and her mother spiraled into a world of depression. When Jered takes her to his grandmother Mae’s farm, with her kitchen smelling of cinnamon and apples, Amanda wonders if she’s fallen into a bit of heaven. A peaceful feeling surrounds her, but she doesn’t feel worthy of love. Amanda longs to show her talented, generous side, but knows it will be a challenge with a high school full of drama and equally confused friends. Making the right decisions is never easy. Yet what she discovers in the picturesque setting of the farm will change everything for her, and for countless others. A poignant tale of dreams, change, giving back, and strength.

Golden Haze By Larry W. Fish

A family from Pennsylvania is having a great life until tragedy comes into their lives. They are hit with struggles when an unlikely angel shows the powers that will put their lives back together again. The family decides to move south to North Carolina hoping that the mild winters will be easier to deal with. The struggles in Pennsylvania were nothing compared to what they would be facing in their new home. It didn’t take long before the happiness turned to sadness and tragedy. What was going on in their house was tearing them apart. It was putting their little angel to the test, making them all wonder just how much more she could take. How much more could the family take? The terror and the fear continued building up and it was a question as to whether it would reach the breaking point.

 Secrets of an Old Typewriter by Susie Duncan Sexton

Anyone who has ever lived in a small town certainly knows that secrets are sometimes not so secret. Susie Duncan Sexton has lived her entire life in a small town—indeed, in the same house where she grew up. As an adult, she taught at the same grammar school that she attended as a child, and many of the relationships she cultivated while growing up, including her marriage, have endured over the years. Always one to document the present and offer her sometimes unorthodox ideas and opinions, Susie Duncan Sexton has tickled the keys of her trusty old typewriter for nearly five decades, and now that venerable machine is ready to reveal its secrets.

This book may be about small town life, but the ideas contained within it are expansive. The written accounts of the life of a ‘smart and sassy small town girl’ are as urbane as those of any city dweller. From ’50s and ’60s nostalgia to modern-day values, and from the drama and insight of America’s great books and motion pictures to politics, religion and animal rights, Susie Duncan Sexton’s ‘secrets’ always hit the mark with unexpected candor and a unique perspective.

How To Get Lucky At Your Prom

Though Prom season is newly over, we just had to post this wonderful essay by our contributor Sally Edelstein. Was it really that way?

Pretty and popular, Patty Barnes was one Lucky girl.Not only was this perky senior voted her High School Prom Queen 1952, the honor came with a gift of a carton of Lucky Strike Cigarettes. Her steady, Rick, a hulking football playing -ROTC- National Honor Society- dreamboat, always knew Patty was one smokin’ gal; like Lucky Strikes “so round, so firm, so fully packed and easy on the draw.” Her yearbook said it best: “As a student and as a ‘personality’ Patty Belongs!”Big Party- Gay Time! After the whirlwind rounds of graduation festivities attending 15 dances, 20 Coke parties, 12 teas, 8 luncheons and 5 barbeques, winding down with a soothing cigarette was a most welcome break for pretty, popular Patty. Does a Girl Who Isn’t Pretty, Stand a Chance to Have Fun?

Vintage Listerine Ad 1950

But then there was poor Babs Johnson. The only date she seemed to have were with her musty old history books.

She read all the magazine articles and took all their advise on becoming popular. Eagerly she joined all the school clubs, taking a job behind the scenes as a prompter for the senior play, timer for the swim team, pianist for the school operetta and assistant in the library. But, she often wondered, does a girl who isn’t pretty stand a chance to having fun? It was only after Dee Dee D’Angelo offered her a Lucky Strike cigarette in the girls bathroom that Babs wised up and saw the light…lighting up could really light up her life. After that she made sure to light up a Lucky whenever the gang was around and it wasn’t long before Babs was wearing her steadies gold football on a thin chain around her neck. Be happy…go Lucky!

I’m Just Sayin’

I'm Just Sayin'They say that men are from Mars. If I hadn’t spent a total of 19 hours in labor delivering two baby boys who are quickly becoming men, I would believe it. So now I live with three extraterrestrials who are confused and perplexed by my earthly expectations and feminine feelings. What’s a woman to do? Well, I take solace in being the different one in the house- hold. They have their rules, and I have mine. My checkbook and my closet are off limits to any complainers. But most importantly, I keep my girlfriends close, very close. If I need a sympathetic ear, I ain’t gonna get it under my roof. I have accepted that fact and, believe me, it’s a fact.

My men are unusual. They weigh before dinner and after. I weigh once a year—usually at my doctor’s office and only by force. They howl at South Park. Sometimes, they are completely deaf to my voice. Trying to get through to them is like playing tennis – the ball just keeps coming back, again and again, just like before, in exactly the same fashion. Tennis frustrates me. Men frustrate me. As I age I accept it more freely. There’s no changing the male know-it- all psyche, the “I’m in charge” attitude. Just ignore it, girlfriend. I do. Life is easier that way.

I have come to accept there are things my husband is never going to understand about me. I got eyeliner tattooed on my eyelids and beneath my eyes. Sounds crazy, but I have small eyes. He thought I had absolutely lost my mind. I looked like Rocky Balboa for a day or so, but after that it was quite lovely. I am glad that I did not spend hours trying to justify why and what I was doing. It was an unexplainable beauty technique that only a woman could comprehend.

In case you are surrounded by male counterparts, relax, don’t stress, don’t spend hours explaining this and that, just know that there are many female things that will always be foreign to them. I have been contemplating many of the things that males just do not get. It might help you out a little. Here’s the list so far.

Men will never get – the one day sale, expensive shampoo, buttered bread, pajamas on hangers, the $200 purse, the emergency shoes in your car, facials, The Notebook, a chocolate brownie and Diet Coke, Botox, high school photos, soap operas, Thelma & Louise, granny panties, Pampered Chef, heated seats, Midol, cappuccino, eyebrow waxing, fat jeans, Celine Dion, seasonal purses, pedicures, designer dresses, and low-fat cookies.

But the biggest thing that they will never understand is – “not tonight, honey!” I’m just sayin’.

 Shelly Gail Morris