Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Do you like the idea of passing phone numbers down to your kids or other family members?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42493points) August 12th, 2016

I was on the back deck, looking for possums, not thinking of much, really, when my mind kind of floated toward how we don’t memorize phone numbers any more because we have them in our phones, on speed dial (or whatever.) Plus people change numbers ALL the time.
I thought about my number, which I was given in 1995 for my landline, which is now my cell phone number. A BUNCH of people have that number memorized and it’s saved a few souls when they were stuck, needing to call someone but didn’t have their phone with them.
I figure I’ll be bequeathing the number to one of my kids someday.

Then I thought…I need to tell my kids that the next one who changes their number, has to see if they can get 316–555-1212, which was my childhood number growing up! (Go ahead. Call it. Ask if this is Dutchess_III’s child hood number!)

So, what do you think of that idea?

I lost my number once, during the dark days of the shop. I had a choice between paying the shop phone bill, or my personal phone bill.
My number was gone for so long that by the time I could pay the bill, it had been assigned to someone else. My family was close to devastated! My grandson who was about 8, wailed, “That was the first number I ever memorized!! Waaaa!”
So I went on a mission. Every so often I’d call SWB to see if that number was available again. About 6 months later….THERE IT WAS!!! And I took it back!

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26 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Nice story. Sounds like a good idea to me, though I’d make it more optional/rewarded rather than “has to”.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I am MOTHER!!! Oh, alright. I’ll give ‘em 5 bucks if they’ll do it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Why would one of children want your childhood phone number? Why ask any of us to call that number and ask for your online name? You’ve lost me here.

BellaB's avatar

Seems like something that might be possible in an area that’s not growing quickly. Around here it’s hard enough to take your number along when you move since area codes change. Not exactly sure why it’s desirable. I’ve had a good dozen different phone numbers since I became an adult.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Because it would just be cool. A connection to my / their past @Pied_Pfeffer. Rick’s dad is 94 and he’s had the same number for 70 years. I know Rick, or any of his two brothers would love to have that number when he passes. It could be a “I have my great, great, great grand parent’s number!” thing some day. Although, I imagine phone numbers as we know them could become obsolete eventually. Don’t know how, though. That might be a good question.

@BellaB. I’m pretty sure that with cell phones area codes transcend location any more. I know a guy who grew up here in Kansas. Went to Illinois briefly, as a young adult, where he got a cell phone, and he has lived back here in Kansas for the last 8 years and he still has that Illinois number and area code.

Also, I’m referring to people who have had the same number for decades, which isn’t the case any more. It used to be a big, huge deal to change phone numbers, but it isn’t any more. Which is kind of a bummer. Used to be that the first thing a kid learned was their parent’s phone number.

Pandora's avatar

Isn’t all information numbers 555–1212?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes. The area code then 555 1212. Or, 800–555-1212.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

Phone numbers aren’t as meaningful as they once were, way back when all telephones were connected to walls. The area code + exchange revealed the location of the landline (and, of course, all lines were landlines). After so many years of fax and cellphone numbers, the numerical sequences just aren’t very relevant.

Raise your hand if you remember when the exchange contained two relevant letters.

A bit of Washington, DC trivia… Capitol Hill phone numbers still begin with “22,” which means CApitol, and the LInoln Park neighborhood still has “54.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

/ Raises hand. / Mine was “Sunset8” = SU8. By the early 70’s it had changed to “788.” Wichita had Murray, MU6, then MU7, MU8. Then that changed to simply 68 (instead of MU.) Of course the letters corresponded with the letters on the number, just like the ones today. Those have been around forever. Who even thought of doing that in the first place?

They aren’t as relevant today. I agree. Maybe that even lends more weight to my idea to preserve the ones that were relevant to some at one time. My phone number is still relevant to my kids and their friends, and some family members.

I still have my sister’s number memorized.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ After a number’s been dialed countless times, and over many years, it’s firmly stored in a person’s muscle memory. That comfort and familiarity can certainly make the phone number very relevant.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes! I’m upset my grandmother’s number wasn’t given to my sister. 212 numbers are hard to come by, and it is a classic NYC number. She has a 212 landline, because she has had it for many years herself, but maybe she could have had our grandmother’s number for her cell phone? My aunt has a 212 number for over 40 years and I dread the day we have to give it up.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Exactly @Love_my_doggie. Dialed countless times for countless reasons. But it’s becoming more and more rare to be able to dial that memorized number to get the word out, whatever that word is.

@JLeslie Well, keep checking with the phone companies. It may come available again. I lost my number and had to change it. I kept checking with SWB to see if my old number was available again. Suddenly, 8 months later, it was!
And see to it that you don’t have to give up your aunts number. When the time comes, port it to one of your cell phones, or whatever.

Coloma's avatar

I remember my childhood phone number and those of old friends after 40+ years.
I still memorize numbers, infact, I have a great memory and can remember numbers in just a few tries. I recently needed to call someone whom I had not had to call in several months and have only know for less than a year. It only took a few seconds for total recall. 837–0503.

I won’t share the zip, obviously. haha
It took me less than 10 seconds for total recall. I think memorizing is still a good idea, technology can and does fail, the human brain does not, unless you are 87 and have dementia. Yes, passing down numbers is a good idea but not likely to happen.

Dutchess_III's avatar

So see if you can get your childhood number back @Coloma!

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III Wrong area code zone now. I should try calling it sometime, just to see if it is still active. haha

Dutchess_III's avatar

I honestly don’t think the area codes matter at all any more. You can have any area code you want. I think.

janbb's avatar

@Dutchess_III I don’t think you get to choose them. You can keep the one that came with your cellphone if you move but they are assigned by the phone company, not chosen by the buyer.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was in the industry, @janbb. You get to choose them if you want. Most people don’t realize that, though, so they don’t ask. But I knew. How do you think I got my old number back after 6 months? I kept calling SWB (or any other phone company, actually) until, by some miracle, it came free, and they gave it to me.

When I activated my business line the gal activating it said, “OK, it’s a business so we need a number that’s easy for people ro remember.” We went through four numbers before I found one I liked.

When I activated cell phones I sometimes gave people a list of available numbers to choose from. I was able to give one person the last 4 digits of the year he was born, just because it was available.

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III True. I was thinking land line not cell. I don;t carry a cell phone’

Dutchess_III's avatar

Oh, yeah. A landline is still a different story, I’m sure, because of how it’s tied in to the land line carriers. (The cell towers are tied into them to, but in a different way.) Yeah, you’d probably have to have the correct area code, or everyone who called you, even your next door neighbor, would be hit with LD charges! BUT you can still choose your own number, at least the last four digits, within that area.
Man, that’s one totally sweet thing about cell phones. No long distance anywhere in the US. No more roaming, either. We’ve come a long way, baby.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Actually @janbb I misspoke. If you activate a phone in a certain area, the list of numbers available will all have that area’s code. But you can still choose the last 4 (or 7.)
However, if I really wanted to get my old child hood number back (which is outside this area code), in my case I could just go on up the road, activate a phone, bring it home and call in an ESN change.

janbb's avatar

You were talking about area codes in your post right before mine which is what I was answering about.

Dutchess_III's avatar

^^^Yes. See my post right above yours. I corrected my statement.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

@JLeslie I know people in the 212 area code who have very old phone numbers, with exchanges such as MUrray Hill, TRafalgar, and GRamercy. Today’s all-numerical values still correspond to the old letters. Often, the people holding those historic numbers might cherish the quaintness and use the letters. “You can reach me at TR7-xxxx…”

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t cherish my old SU8 letters! I remember them, though.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

We had the same phone number for all the years my kids grew up, actually I had the number since 1981. A few years ago I sold my house to my daughter and she is raising her kids there with the same number.

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