What is a Payphone? In Memory of Former Telecommunications


Written in 2013

It is pouring rain in Lanark County, and as I walk out of a gas station payphone I spy a teenager walking in the drenching rain sheltering his cellphone as he texts.

Why, I ask myself?

Since my sons gave me my iPhone on Mother’s Day I have treated the phone like the black sheep of any family. I try and ignore it, but it will not let me, and I feel like I am never alone. Granted it was my choice to get rid of the landline and finally move into the 21st century like everyone else. But what happens to the memory of what once was?

Texting was easy as I already had several weeks of repetitive training/cajoling on my iPad– but my brain no longer wants to attempt any mental feats of strength that are not needed. Instead of texting back, most times I answer the text on my laptop with an email. Friends have told me I will get used to it and end up loving it, so am I secretly sabotaging myself? I have not set up voice mail because others have told me they cannot retrieve messages so I use that as an excuse.


This morning I watched my oldest son use both his thumbs to text as I have seen many times. I marvel at the precision and speed he uses and think of my texts this week with misspelled words that even spellcheck could not pick up. I remember the 4 year-old-girl on the Apple commercials and how she whizzed through feats of technology without help and how I wish I could be smarter.

I have in my hands a fabulous piece of communication that I am shunning like the Amish. It attempts to entice me daily to use it like a prosthetic for the rest of my life. I refuse to let it become the bearer of my vital signs and continued activity in my brain. Is there a middle ground? Has cellphone dependency resulted in compulsive communicating? Or will I eventually turn into a Ninja when someone touches my phone?


In memory of landlines and the payphones in Carleton Place I once used:

Mr. Gas

Outside the IDA

Mac’s on Lake Ave West

Mac’s at the four corners

Art’s on Townline

Esso Station on Hwy 7


My telephone booth inside my house that was one of the original phone booths from the Ottawa General Hospital.
Darlene Gerbino Pistocchi from Screamin Mamas from Florida said: Getting rid of payphones is a huge mistake… I mean how are we supposed to change into superheroes now????

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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