Mother’s Day, 1996

I sit, waiting for the phone to ring. I haven’t spoken to my parents since December and, though I love what I’m doing, I love them, too. But I’ve been sitting here for almost an hour. I’m not 100% sure of the time zone difference between eastern Brazil and the western United States, but I’m pretty sure they’re late.

In this area, none of our members have phones. One of our member’s father has a phone, but, in order to call, I’ve promised that it won’t cost him anything. It’s a party line, something I’d heard about in the U.S. but never actually experienced. (The way it works is, 10 households share a line. Calls come to the first house in the group. That person directs the call to whomever it’s for.)

I told the person at number 1 that, when she got a call she didn’t understand to put them through to me. But, after the hour, I decide to call my parents to give them a phonetic way to ask for me. It takes some doing to figure out how to call the U.S., but eventually I succeed and, 15 minutes later, I am talking to my parents.

I ended up paying about $15 for the instructional call home, but it was worth it. I got to talk to my parents, then return to the missionary work I was in Brazil to do.

I spoke today with friends whose son is calling them today for Mother’s Day. They’ll talk on Skype. Frankly, that seems a better way to do it.

Happy Mother’s Day!

12 comments for “Mother’s Day, 1996

  1. Gee, now I’m trying to remember how I did this during my mission. No party lines, but we didn’t have a phone line specifically for us missionaries. I think I called collect, but I can’t remember for sure.

  2. Kent,

    Perhaps I should read between the lines and conclude that you also served in Brazil? (Or maybe you could make the implicit explicit for those of us who don’t spend every waking moment of our lives at T&S [and who rarely post when we do visit]?)

    Inquiring minds want to know! (As for myself, I never had the pleasure of serving abroad [although, to many people, San Diego “is” a foreign country! ;D], but I do remember calls home from my brother, who served in Italy …)

  3. Kent, rumor had it that some missionaries had to call from these kinds of telephone booths, trying to hear their families through the noise and the poor connection. I had no desire to do that.

    Ken, though I’m not to that point in my life yet, I’m pretty sure that a call from your son on a mission in San Diego is just as exciting as a call from your son in Italy. (BTW, were you in the San Diego mission or the Carlsbad mission? I grew up within the boundaries of the Carlsbad mission.)

  4. I remember wanting to speak to my sisters that badly, long ago.

    I love Skype! It’s the way my baby grandson and I keep in touch.

  5. No, no … The San Diego missionary was “me,” Sam! (Alas, I cannot relate to calls home from the parent’s perspective …) I have no progeny … I am my only child! ROFL!

  6. Sorry, Ken, I clearly wasn’t clear enough. I meant that I assume your parents were just as excited at the prospect of your call as they were with your brother’s. (Unless, of course, they liked you or him better ;)

  7. Sam,

    LOL! Is the Internet equivalent of “Measure twice, cut once” “Read twice, respond once”? You’re right, I’m sure they appreciated calls from both of us (equally, no doubt: my parents are no respecter of offspring …) Still, I’ll be the first to admit that it was much more of an accomplishment (much more of an “event,” because of the logistics involved) for my brother to call home from Italy than it was for me to call home, even from that Exotic, Faraway Land of Southern California.

  8. The key to understanding this post lies, I think, in reading the entire title before moving on. 1996! Oh, I get i!

    I can now withhold all my questions about how you, Sam, and presumably your family, ended up as missionaries in Brazil without me hearing about it.

    Nice post. :) One of my good friends growing up had a party line. As preteen kids we thought it super fun to try to listen in on lovey dovey calls made by some of the others in the party. :)

  9. International calls to kids on missions was difficult. I remember a call to a missionary son in 1996 that accost us over $200. It was worth every cent. Skype would certainly be much better. E-mail would also be better than the two week turn around for snail mail at that time. There are some blessings associated with technology.

  10. In France, we had to call from a booth in the post office, after registering for a booth and making a substantial deposit. Then you paid whatever more you owed on the meter after your call was finished. This was circa 1982.

    I discovered at some point that my parents were getting up in Las Vegas at about 3:30 p.m. on the clock in France. If we happened to be passing a booth on the street at about that time, I would deposit a 10-centime coin — pennies — and when someone answered I would speak as fast as I could, “HiMomILoveYouGoodbye!” if I spoke really fast, I could get that much out before the connection broke. Made both of us happy for the rest of the day.

  11. P.S.: For some reason, I have these ’80s lyrics floating through my brain: “I’m talkin’ to a satell-ITE, 20 thousand miles up in the sky at night! We’re livin’ in a modern world!” ;D

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