Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Butterfly Hours Memoir Project: PHONE BOOK

For 2019 I'm running a year-long series on my blog in which I share my responses to the writing assignment prompts found in THE BUTTERLY HOURS by Patty Dann.

I welcome you to join me, if you like! I've divided the prompts by month, and the plan is to respond to 3 (or so) a week. For some of these I may write poems, for others prose. The important thing is to mine my memory. Who knows where this exploration will lead?

For links to the prompts I've written on so far this year, please click on The Butterfly Hours tab above.

This month's prompts are notebook, October, office, pajamas, paper, party, pencil, perfume, phone book, photograph, pictures.


I remember phone books stacked on the kitchen counter – one white pages, one yellow pages – beneath the corded telephone. Phone books as booster seat for wee visitors joining us for a meal, phone books as lift chair for home haircuts. Phone books dangling inside pay phone booths. How thin the pages were -- like tissue wrapping paper -- and how tiny the print. Let your fingers do the walking. Searching the white pages to find a name, and finding twenty, thirty, a hundred names. How we'd go through looking at addresses, making educated guesses, and then we'd start calling. You had to pay extra to get your number “unlisted.” Some families had two phone lines – one for the adults, one for the kids.

Later, when Paul and I ran a small business, the largest share of our advertising budget went to yellow page ads. Now businesses must have a strong online presence, and those advertising dollars go for site optimization and Google ad words. How things have changed!

1 comment:

  1. In our business we paid a lot for those yellow page ads. Now I wonder if those same sales people visit businesses for online ads? I'm sure that the granddaughters do not even know what phone books are! Fun to read your memories!


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