Pioneer Potluck: About the advancement of the telephone

This week: Quick topping for vanilla ice cream, Mexicalli-chicken Pot Pie, Bob’s spaghetti sauce

  • Tuesday, May 14, 2019 10:18pm
  • Life

I am writing this out of frustration of the advancement of telephone that is supposed to make your life easier!

I grew up on a farm that had no telephone until I was about 10 in 1947. The phone was attached to the wall and the phone line went through the wall to a line on the outside to a pole that had telephone wires that ran up and down the side of the road to every neighbor.

Each person had a fixed number. We could hear the other neighbor’s phone ring by the amount to rings. Our phone had three rings. Our number was 0213-J3. Grandpa and Grandma’s number was 0213-R2. Dad referred to the phone numbers as 0213-Jingle 3 and Grandpa’s as 0213-Ring 2. I guess that is how he remembered it. Here it is 75 years later and I still remember the numbers!

Mom had her choice of colors for her wall phone, black, white or pink. She chose pink. It hung on the wall in the kitchen with painted red ceiling and yellow walls. We could ALWAYS find our phone! It never got lost as it was attached to a curly cord about 6 feet long that you could stretch across the kitchen and still make cookies while talking.

There were rules and very strict ones! Five minutes is all you talked, because if you took longer Mom or Dad would come along and push the phone hanger down and cut you off. Then you got the terrible scolding like did something wrong. Mom’s excuse from her: “What if department,” was, what if someone else on the line needed to use it?

Well, actually if one of our neighbors needed it they would pick up the phone and say, “Excuse me I need to use the phone.” OR they would quietly listen to what you were saying!

When I went to high school we advanced to a “desk phone” all black and big. It had a rotary dial. It sat on the desk in the dinning room. We could sit down and talk but the rules were the same. Sometimes when Mom or Dad were out of the house, I got to talk a little longer to one of my high school friends or later one of my boyfriends.

When I got married I cannot remember what kind of phone or where it was. I was too busy with little kids and a full-time job at the hospital. I do know it sat on a desk or table.

I guess the huge advancement in my life was carrying around a big “mobile phone” that hung on your hip! You never lost it as it was too big.

In 1967, when we moved to Alaska, North Kenai, now Nikiski, there were no telephones. The only communications was everyone had CB radios. If I wanted to talk to Mom or Dad or family in Colorado I had to go to a pay phone with a handful of quarters and stand in line and wait for the homesick person talking to tell his family “down below” goodbye.

I think there was a pay phone at the Hunger Hut — I think? I do know I used one in Kenai at the “old” Carrs Mall, now the Employment Office building. BUT first you had to drive to town, wait for the bank to open to get $20 worth of quarters. Yes, I know at one time for a short while, the phone cost you a handful of nickels or dimes. Or one nickel or one dime to call locally.

My first phone in my home in North Kenai was in a trailer house. Jim Goff installed it. The happy-go-lucky, always talkative “telephone man,” my kids called him, because they did not know his real name. We moved to Daniels Lake and he also installed our phone. That is when we found out he and his family had homesteaded the land next to us. Very nice neighbors! Once in a while Jim would bring us a big salmon that he had caught in Swanson River, just up the road from us.

I graduated to those big phones on the hip kind for a while. The smaller phones were in stalled in the house on a “land line.” They still hooked up to the telephone lines, strung from post to post. (And at times strung from fence post to fence post).

Just a year ago I got rid of our “land phone” as the price of it kept getting higher and higher. From $9 to $12 to $22 for several years. It just kept getting more expensive! We did not use it that much, because we were modernized — we have cellphones! So last year when my phone bill hit $56, I had it disconnected. It was like letting go of an old friend. We had that phone and the number for 32 years! At times I have carried a big cellphone, then a little flip phone — which I lost frequently!

The new iPhones and iPads and all the other devices we have to keep us informed and entertained are hooked up to small wires hooked to an electrical outlet to charge. Well, every time you changed phones or lost one — or in my case dunked it in the toilet — you got, along with the purchase of a new phone, another devise that plugs into an outlet so you can charge it. Why, why don’t they make the plug-ins ALL the same? I am sure I am not the only one who complains about the cords hanging out of extension cords and outlets that look downright awful. I also have a basket full of those little buggers. AND not one fits the phone I have now but only the one I cannot find!! I will say the invention of ringing your phone number by someone else’s phone is very nice when you have lost you own!!

Now shall we talk about passwords and all the different ones you have and some you wrote down and some you did not! All the accounts that have password to get online on your computer to pay your bills! I hope everyone is so organized as to have them all written down. I do, in a fashion, but that little book is NOT where I need it at the time!!

So, in closing, modern technology is not what I would say is more convenient or useful and more modern. They are downright aggravating at times. The old phone on the wall is where it was supposed to be at all times. No hunting for hours in cushions, in cars in the “other” room, or for me just inoperable because it got wet and I had to wait to go to town to buy a new one!

Yesterday, Bob needed to gradate to an iPhone because his flip phone was out of date. It was a year old!! I made three trips to AT&T, two trips to Walmart and put in countless hours of putting in a phone list and learning the new upgrade of a new phone so I could teach Bob how to use it. We have not gotten over that hump yet!! This whole process took up my whole day and part of Susan’s!

I want to thank Daughter Susan for being my teacher and guiding me through the process of new phones, time and time again. I would be in the dark world of no phone if it were not for her!

The old phone on the wall did not need a password. All you had to do is dial the numbers and talk! AND my biggest peeve is the new more modern phones always need to be updated and mine is always out of date! Darn it! I just got to where I could remember how to use it! I have had to train another brain power that is jammed into the corner of my brain so I could eventually remember which button to use!

Now today I need to continue to figure out how to disconnect the flip phone — just dial 611 she said. I still have not found out how to do that!

I am sure you have complaints also, and I haven’t even started on when computers came into use and how left-handed and fumbled fingered I was learning that at age 62!! I even took a class to improve my skills, because I wanted to write cookbooks!! I accomplished that and have written several cookbooks, each a little better that the last one!

When I started this story I was sure I did no have much to say about a phone — I guess I did and I could say MORE, but it is unprintable!


This is fast and delicious.

Oil and line an 8-inch pie plate with large flour tortilla.

In a bowl mix:

2 cups leftover cooked chicken or turkey or ground beef or moose

1 can cream of chicken soup or cream of mushroom

1 small bag of your favorite mixed frozen vegetables. Thaw, drain and warm in microwave.

1 small can of chopped green chilis

1/2 of chopped onion

1 or 2 chopped jalapenos

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

Mix all together and pour into your flour tortilla-lined pie plate. Top with another flour tortilla. Butter the top and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat in oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and top with cheese and heat again for 15 to 20 minutes until it bubbles. Let stand for 15 minutes and serve with lettuce wedges topped with Ranch dressing. P.S., leftovers are delicious!


This takes green olives; it is not a typing error!

One pound of Jimmy Dean sausage — any flavor, except maple-spicy works best

Two pounds of ground lean hamburger — ground moose is excellent

Any amount of chopped onions, green peppers, a little celery and a small amount of grated or finely chopped carrot. The celery and carrot sweetens it a little and takes care of the acid in the tomatoes.

Half a small bottle of green olives with pimentos, sliced. Now they do have the sliced with pimiento green olives or the bits and pieces — about half a cup with juice.

Brown sausage and what other kind of meat. Place in colander to drain. Press fat out with paper towel if necessary. Do not have to do this with moose!

Place a large glass or stainless pot with a small amount of oil on low heat on stove and add the vegetables cooked until softened. Add the olives and a small can of tomato paste and a can of water.

Add two large cans of tomato sauce — P.S., now they have the various flavored spaghetti sauces in large cans. If using these do not use the two cans of tomato sauce.

Add one can of diced tomatoes or stewed or diced stewed Mexican tomatoes.

Add a package of favorite spaghetti seasoning mix.

Simmer about an hour on low heat or until thick. Stir occasionally — this is a good crock pot meal.

Serve with hot noodles that have been drained and sprinkled with olive oil and parsley.

Serve with your favorite garlic bread.


2 cans apple pie filling

Pour into sauce pan and add:

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup shopped walnuts

1/4 cup sugar

On low, low heat (or in microwave) heat until sugar dissolves stirring once in a while. Put on stove before eating supper and it will be warmed for the ice cream treat that everyone will love. Of course, top it with whipped cream!

• By ANN “GRANNIE ANNIE” BERG, For the Peninsula Clarion

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