From Tracie: Seven Minute Calls

Monday, May 09, 2011

Seven Minute Calls

I sat down on my grandmother's green couch, and dialed the numbers messily scrawled on a scrap of dark blue paper. I was seven years old, and my best friend, Sarah, slipped the paper to me after school, and told me to call her. It was the first time I had called a friend just to chat. 

Ring Ring

Ring Ring

"May I please speak to Sarah?" 

With those words, I became a phone person. 

Sarah lived about forty-five minutes away from me. Neither of us were in traditional neighborhoods with sidewalks covered in chalk drawings, and basketball hoops sticking out over garage doors, and kids playing outside until dark. We both had a lot of time to kill.

So we talked. And talked. And talked. 

The battery in my grandparent's phone died, and I switched to the wall phone so we could talk some more.

Those long afternoon calls were a haven of normalcy for me. 

We discussed very important things: the color we would paint our living room walls when we grew up and shared an apartment, who was the cutest in our class - Ryan or Ben, what songs we would be singing in Wednesday night choir, string cheese, who was cuter on tv - Zach or Slater (I was a Zach girl), all the ways her older brother drove us crazy, clay pits, homework, and whether she should stick with the purple color in her hair or switch to a light blue.

We talked a lot about books, and I'm pretty sure that one summer day she read an entire Baby Sitter's Club book to me during a particularly long phone call. 

When I wasn't on the phone with Sarah, there were calls to be made to Stephanie and Leigh Anne.

There were so many phone calls, my grandmother eventually got tired of me tying up her line, and decided some limits needed to be put in place. 

That was the day she pulled out the hourglass. 

She set it on the small table by the green couch, and explained that I could have one call a day, timed by the sand.

Sadly, although called an hourglass, this particular timepiece was only good for about seven minutes. 

A small stream of sand. 

Falling. Falling. 

Seven minutes. 

Now five. 

Now three.

"You have to talk faster, Sarah!"

The last grain of sand fell to the bottom and our time was finished. 

The phone hung up, I was back to the real world. 

The Red Dress Club Prompt:

Did you talk on the phone when you were a kid? What kind of important things did you discuss? 


  1. Tracie, this brought tears to my eyes. Especially because I know what that contact with a friend, and a world beyond your grandmother's house, meant to you! I'm sorry it was limited!

  2. i remember making my first phone calls and how much I loved them! great post to link up with, Im sure it will spark similar memories by others too

  3. What a unique way to incorporate the sand theme. I too lived in an area it was not made for going out of when I was younger. So the phone was my haven till high school and then I moved and life changed for the better kinda.

  4. oh yeah i was all about talking on the phone too...
    lol. I LOVE the way you incorporated the sand theme though...brilliant!

  5. Only 7 minutes? Oh, I would have been so sad!

  6. I love your take on the sand prompt. 7 minutes can be a long time, but definitely not long enough to have a good conversation.

    My parents would limit my phone time as well. I remember sneaking down to the basement after I thought they were asleep to call my best friend or boyfriend.

  7. I hated having a timed conversation as a kid. We lived in a traditional neighborhood though, so my calls were mostly "hey can you play?" and "My house or yours?"

  8. I love these hourglass posts from the prompt! Seven minutes is such a short time. I feel sad for you!

  9. I spent hours on the phone with my bestie when I was a little older--our conversations revolved around many of the same things--books and boys! :)

  10. Oh I love this, I was a Slater girl and had an egg timer for the phone!

  11. Love this! I could picture the timer with the sand falling and just imagined begging my friend to talk faster...faster...faster!

  12. Seven minutes?!?! That would've killed me! I so remember those hours-long convos with my friends after school. We had call-waiting so the line was never busy, and we could conference other people into the call. Thanks for bringing back those memories!

    p.s. I was Slater all the way! ;)

  13. That was wonderful and brought back so many memories. You wrote it beautifully.

  14. What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. To answer your question - we weren't allowed to talk on the phone. But my brother and I were locked in our rooms for hours and hours at a time. A heating duct ran between our rooms and when we got lonely we'd run a pencil down the grate to "call" the other person. We'd whisper through the grate and keep each other company. It was the only time we got along. Those moments of connection are so meaningful.

  15. Only 7 minutes? Why do I sense the hourglass was a ploy - keeping you from rebelling against the insanely short 7 minutes?

    I don't know if I could stand it, so isolated as a child, unable to talk with my friends.

    Oh.. the long conversations I used to have, conferencing, call waiting.

    You've brought back the memories.

    I love the list of important stuff you talk about.

  16. I grew up in the age before call waiting, my dad put in a second line after he tried to call through for 3 hours and the kiddies were gossiping on the line.

  17. My Mom finally got us a separate "teenager phone" because she got so fed up with us being on the phone all the time. The only problem is that when my friends would phone and it was busy, they would call her line. She wasn't very happy about that. lol
    Great job with the prompt!

  18. Only 7 minutes? Did you try throwing a tantrum to get your grandmother to give you more time? That must have sucked. I remember teenage phone calls, too. My mom and I were always arguing about it.

    Btw, I was a Zach girl, too! :)

  19. Oh the sands of the hourglass always fall way too fast. And the vision of it falling always seems to cause a sense of loss or panic, like something slipping through your grasp. This is a wonderful take on the sand prompt, especially because I didn't know in the beginning where you were going with it.

  20. OH you poor thing! Seven minutes isn't even good for "warm up" talk. I am much older than you but remember the phone being my lifeline to my friends while in school. I was sneaky though. Mom would put a limit, but when she was asleep or gone, I'd talk longer. When Dad would ask how long I'd been talking (because he never really paid attention), I'd say I just got on there with that particular friend. It worked "most" of the time. When Mom was around, however.....much different story!

  21. Such an original take on the prompt! You conveyed the bittersweetness of the experience so well.

  22. love the memory, i was never a phone girl and still am not! it makes me hot and bothered, i feel silence more on the phone! thanks so much as well for stopping by my blog. jane x

  23. So sad that the hour glass was so short. I was really bummed out and anxious for you. Well done!

    Just curious, where DID you actually live? Not a neighborhood, was it a farm area? I wanted to picture that, too:)

  24. As a parent I say that was a smart idea your grandmother had but as a tween I say "No, that's not NEARLY enough time to talk!!!" HA!

    What a great memory for the prompt. Great job!