So there we were, driving home on a Sunday evening when we came across one of those “Only In Ireland” photo opportunities.
Travelling slowly ahead of us was an old P&T phonebox sitting safe and proud on a trailer being driven south. My kids couldn’t believe their eyes. Their shock gave way to embarrassment when I ordered them to take photos. (Well, that’s what mothers are for isn’t it?) There had been an auction in Galway that day, so I assume someone struck it lucky and won themselves a vintage phonebox to take home. Old yellow & green phoneboxes are hugely popular now just like the old postboxes.
But oh the memories that flashed in front of my eyes as I watched the phonebox in front of us.
I remembered how exciting and important phones were in our childhood. Us kids regularly gathered around the one phonebox in town, checking to see if we had struck it lucky because maybe the last caller had left money behind that we could “borrow” to buy sweets. Sometimes we just used the phonebox to shelter from the rain.
Occasionally we did actually make phone calls. But they were big occasions because phone calls were so expensive. The most exciting times were either calling to, or waiting for calls from, long distance relations to pass on some family news. It was a very rare occasion that one of us would ever use the phonebox on our own. We were usually dispatched as a group to make the call. That was definitely the mammy’s way of getting rid of a few kids for an hour or so. For the record I think that 6 kids is the most that we ever managed to squeeze in, and we were still able to close the door and make the call.
Communication is much easier now with mobile phones. But you don’t get that same community feeling that you get from six squashed kids making a call in a phonebox in the rain.