Eleven Digits

Last week, when telephoning my aunt and uncle, I found myself dialling Mum’s number.
It was an automatic action, an unconscious action.
I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I found that later on, after I’d made the call
(using the correct number), I felt very emotional.

Those eleven digits have been our ‘home’ number for over 40 years.

By my reckoning, those eleven digits became ours in 1974, when Dad left the RAF
and we settled in the area where my parents had grown up.
Those eleven digits moved when we did: from a council house to the house I think of as our family home and onto the house where Mum lived by herself for over 17 years.

Those eleven digits became the first telephone number I learned as a 6-year-old.  When any of us answered the ‘phone, the first thing we did was to recite seven of those eleven digits (we didn’t say the area code) before we said hello.
I was teased over sounding as though I sang the number when I said it.
Those eleven digits are in my DNA.   

5 thoughts on “Eleven Digits

  1. Those things become ingrained don't they? (When I wrote about address books many people felt similarly about it.) My parents have always had the same number too and – back in the 90s – there was a misprint in the Yellow Pages and their number was given as that if a sign printing business! They even tried – but failed – to buy the number so that didn't miss out on business. We spent years redirecting people to the correct number! Even through all that we were all of us too attached to those 11 digits to let them go. X

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  2. I understand this completely. Sometimes now, I wonder how much longer I'll be using the number I learned when I was six. It's a long time, and hard to let go.

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  3. My parents moved from place to place but the numbers are in my head. I can still remember answering the phone when I was seven and considered old enough to do such a thing – that was 62 years ago! but 4157 is there in my head ready to be used.These months are tricky after the loss of a parent. The strangest things can set you off. I was watching a programme on TV and suddenly Bing Crosby was singing “Don't Fence Me In” My Dad sang this to my Mum as they walked down the aisle on their wedding day and it was the music he chose for his funeral so it took me be surprise and my eyes reacted with a few tears, even though he died 13 years ago.

    OH OH and another thing that made my eyes react was the beautiful postcard I received today. Lifted my heart and made me smile a lot. Thank you

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  4. I can really relate to this. We too had the same number although as more and more people got phones and the town needed more numbers they did add some digits to the original number. But I was also trained to answer the phone with “29048”!
    I received some beautiful Happy Mail yesterday- thank you so much x

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  5. This brought tears to my eyes. I'll always remember our “home” phone number (which my parents still use and have). I'm burying my head in the sand about the day I won't dial it anymore …

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