Remember those? Doorstoppers. Booster seats at Thanksgiving. Ten pound slabs of paper delivered every year. If we went on holiday to another town, we’d look up our name in the town phone book—out of curiosity, to see how many other Feebacks there were. Usually none. It was a name from the hoots and hollers of Kentucky. Yet every now and then we’d come across a stray one in North or South Carolina, or Virginia Beach.
I was reminded of the phone book last night while watching a TV show set n the 1970s. THIS IS US, the part about the parents is a time period I’m totally familiar with. I recognize the dishes she uses, the hair styles, and clothes. Then there was the phone book.
I remember having a crush on a boy and looking his name up I the phone book. His parent’s surname. Then I’d guess which one might be him, since there might be two or three with the same last name. Then I’d hop on my bike and ride past his house. I’d make several passes.
I guess today you’d just stalk them on Facebook and Instagram.
Sometimes when bored, I’d read the phone book. I remember a TV show about savants. A guy who memorized the numbers on a whole line of passing trains. Then there was the guy who memorized the phone book. This is how you won contests. This was black and white reality TV.
I can’t tell you the last time I saw a phone book. A number of years ago I saw one sitting outside in the rain—no one bothering to bring it inside.