( A little phone humor there.)
Call me crazy, but this transition is a little sad. I've had a lifelong connection with the evolution of the telephone. When I was little, home phones had to be rented, and were attached to the wall in the most inconvenient places. At my house, there was a built in phone shelf in the kitchen that I had to stand on a chair to reach; at my grandmother's house, the shelf was in a hallway. There was no privacy on those phones, which didn't matter much because the phone receiver was so heavy you really couldn't hold it and talk for long. Long distance calls had to be placed by an operator, and even in my hometown of Austin there were party lines: we shared our line with our neighbors. You waited your turn, and you didn't listen to other callers' conversations. Or at least you didn't breathe too loudly if you were listening.
When you told someone your phone number, you usually began it with letters that identified your neighborhood. My earliest phone number was GL2-3589. (Called it recently and it was a recording of a youth league soccer schedule. Wrong. Just wrong.) Someone mentioned this antiquated letter/number configuration at a gathering recently, and everyone of a certain age in the room could recite their first phone number.
At some point in my teenaged years, there was a deregulation of the phone company monopoly. Ma Bell produced many Baby Bells. (Google it if that seems like a foreign language to you.) You could own phones, but they were still attached to cords in the wall. Many homes had separate lines for the children, and the female phone of choice was called a "princess phone". (Read that: small, rounded and usually pink.)
Because The Phone Company had lost money in this dissection of the company, they often turned to other methods to squeeze more money out of customers. (Nothing has changed, hunh?) I remember coming home from college in the summers, and renting a phone for my efficiency apartments. The phone people would actually say things like, "You need a second line in the bedroom in case someone breaks in and you have to call the police." Listen, if someone broke into those tiny apartments (1) there was nothing to take but the cinderblock tv stand and (2) you could see every room from every room. A second phone was not effective as security.
The long cord on a phone debuted about the time I had children. And they knew exactly how far it stretched. And would stand at that line when I was on the phone and try to play with knives and bleach. (Kidding: it was mostly scissors and Elmer's to glue their haircut back in place.) Most of my phone coversations were punctuated by snapping fingers, followed by a hand over the receiver issuing consequences for when I got off the phone.
Cordless phones represented Freedom. You could talk anywhere on your property--even outside--on these phones. Young Son once took our portable phone in his backpack to school to see the distance it would work. It was days before he remembered where he put it for this little science experiment.
Our first cell phone was roughly the size and weight of a brick. And roaming charges kept calls short and to the point. The introduction of generation after generation of cell phones, smart phones, and iPhones since that time has just been a dazzlement of technology.
So, good-bye land line. I'll miss you. What I will miss most? Dave's voice still on the message. I listened to it often, kind of pretending he was still home. "We aren't able to come to the phone right now, but leave your message after the beep and we'll get right back to you."