I haven’t memorized a phone number since 2003. And contrary to my usual argument for things old and outdated, I think it’s incredibly cool that cell phones not only allow us to communicate no matter where we are, but they let us do so without committing random seven-digit codes to memory. That is, until I heard my parents were getting rid of their landline.

You see, today’s story starts when I was in first grade and we moved from Baldwin to Lawrence. Like going from Springfield to Capital City, Lawrence was the land of excitement. In the first six months, I’d experienced a McDonald’s drive through, spotted a real life DeLorean at a used car dealership and rented a VHS video. With new culture coming at me from every direction, my parents bought our first touch-tone phone. Our number was 841-1436.

As you might suspect, 1436 opened the door to a whole new world. Thanks to that number, I was able to make plans to ride bikes up and down Lawrence Avenue with my first friend, Ben Sosinski. Countless teachers, bus drivers and angry neighbors called that number to report my anti-social behavior to my folks. I gave that number to hundreds of  girls—and a couple of them even called! This was the only phone number I’ve ever felt connected to and I suspect it’s the last phone number I’ll ever memorize or actively dial, digit by digit. Living a life where everything seems to be in constant flux, the Green Family phone number remained the same for roughly twenty-five years.

My brain is tiny and I’m forgetful, but something tells me 1436 will take a while to fade away. Now that it’s disconnected, I wish I’d dialed it one last time. Who knows, maybe in a few weeks, I’ll give it a shot—just to see who answers. Perhaps Ben Sosinski will be on the other end asking if I’d like to go out and ride bikes?


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