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No doubt about it. We should have done it a long time ago, but our changed lifestyle during COVID-19 made us very much aware that it was time to pull the plug on our landline.

Thanks to COVID-19, we have been home much more than ever. No out-of-town visits to family or exciting travels. We were here to hear the landline ring, morning, noon and especially at dinner time, with unwanted calls from unknown parties.

In the last month that we subscribed to our landline, our Caller ID informed us that we received calls from Athens, Elkins, Huntington, Morgantown (3), Moorefield, Piedmont and Philippi. Additionally, eight “unknowns,” four donation organizations and 23 “Potential Spams” rang us. Previously, Charleston, Grafton and Beckley called; and this occurred before the heavy-duty election campaign calls.

While seriously curious as to the identify of our callers, we never knew whether they were trying to say we’d won the lottery or were being taken to jail. Caller ID told us that there was no point in answering the call. Caller ID is vital to anyone still using a landline.

There’s some nostalgia in our landline’s demise. This landline and telephone number had been part of our family for the 44 years we’ve been in Huntington. It evolved from a wall kitchen phone with an immense curling cord that constantly tangled and three extensions in the rest of the old four-level South Side house. The kids never had a phone in their own rooms; how did we manage that?

We grew up with landlines, which in our youth were clunky black devices assigned three or four numbers. Telephone operators connected each call using phone numbers, except in small towns where names worked just as well. We still remember our childhood phone numbers, but with cell phones, few people memorize anyone’s number.

Rotary phones requiring dialing are now seen as nostalgic decorations. They were modern in my youth and for the first time, telephone operators were unnecessary. The phone company was totally in charge of what phones you could use and only they could install them.

Still corded and wedded to a wall outlet, phones became more stylish with colorful “princess” phones. Then the “miracle” of cordless phones arrived. It was a boon for privacy, but, for the first time, you were able to lose a phone in your own home.

When the first cell phones appeared, they were expensive and bulky. Cell phones, now indispensable to the entire world, have morphed from Nokias to Blackberries to iPhones, Samsungs and other handheld devices that are essentially computers occasionally used as phones.

Unfortunately, a few of those unwanted calls from West Virginia and well beyond continue to ring on our cell phones, but controlling them is more convenient. Our landline served us well for decades, but the summer of 2020 made it obvious that it was the end of line for our landline.

Diane W. Mufson is a retired psychologist and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch Opinion page. Her email is dwmufson@comcast.net.

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