By the time the new one was delivered on the front steps, the old one had seen better days. It had been doodled on, rolled up, and pages frayed. Southern Bell had them delivered only once a year so the old ones were pretty tattered by the time we got the new ones.
The phone book sat on the kitchen counter most of the time, although there was a drawer it was thrown in at the end of the day. It seemed no one could have lived without their phone books back then. They were used daily and frequently called numbers were listed in the back page of the phone book as soon as it arrived.
I remember sitting on the kitchen stool, curly cord phone in hand, doodling on the phone book, as I was chatting away. I was talking to my best friend who had just left my house even though we had been in school together all day, we still had so much to talk about.
We didn’t write on the outside cover right away. It stayed nice and clean-looking for a while. After it became a little worn and Mom had scribbled a number quickly on the back cover when no doubt there was not a piece of paper within her sight, this was the cue. This is when I knew I could doodle on the cover.
The phone book was used for other things too. When going to one friends house and we wanted to look up a number, we had to get the phone book from under the kitchen table. Without the phone book under that table it was wobbly and the little book was the perfect fix for the problem.
Today, we don’t have a need to look up numbers in a book. I just had a last thought about the phone book, the satisfying feeling of slamming it on the kitchen counter when mad. Yes, sometimes, that book took a beating!