Yellowed Answering Machine

By: Ruth

May 09 2011

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Photograph


Focal Length:3.85mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:iPhone 4

My friend Steve found this one in a box in the basement a few years ago. It used to be white. I ‘d forgotten about it.  Then I stuck it in a drawer. He told me what was on it.  I listened once and it was bittersweet.  The kicker is it has both of my parents voices on it, and one is the last message I got from my mother thanking me for sending a lovely bouquet for their 61st anniversary.  She passed away eleven days later. I wrote a poem about keeping it.   I thought of recording the voices onto another device but it was too sad and painful and yet it is really hard to just throw it in the garbage.  That teacher bookmark was easy, you were correct. I shut the drawer back up and am going on to another drawer. (And we are talking over a decade since she passed!)  i guess my kids will have to throw it out when I am gone. 

9 comments on “Yellowed Answering Machine”

  1. I can understand not wanting to throw out your mother’s voice. I wouldn’t want to either. I’m superstitious and I never delete a voice mail from my sweetheart if he’s on a long trip until he’s home again. I think he has a couple of voice mails – perhaps the one from my first day on the AT – still on his phone. Not something you want to let go of, for sure.

  2. I would probably do the same thing in your position…go ahead and keep it! No harm!

  3. My husband recorded my dad’s answering machine message onto a CD after he passed. Maybe one of your children could do it for you and then you would have to keep the yellowed plastic box.

  4. Right now, keep it. You’re just not ready to part with it. I’m like that with some of my kid’s toys. I’m just not ready to part with some of them yet. The day will come when you’ll say “Ok, we can do it, I’m over it”. But keep it if it’s that hard to throw out.

    It is really cool though. Some phone collector would love to have it. Clean it up some day, even though it’s yellowed, and it’s a true classic! Even from Radio Shack!

  5. I meant to select ‘keep it’ not ‘pitch it’. Sorry, please cancel out my vote. Thanks!

  6. Not easy. But you are more than half way to peace by just digging it out and listening…my suggestion is to record it somewhere else, keep that and let the machine go. How the message makes you feel is the issue here, and has little to do with the actual answering machine. Very brave of you facing all of these things. Very cool.

  7. You’re right, leave it where it is and let your kids deal with it. 😉

  8. I’m glad you’re keeping the record of your parents’ voices. And I understand that hearing them again is too painful.

  9. I just saw this post in my inbox, sorry for the delay in commenting. I agree with most everyone else; given that this item is so full of deep, personal meaning, don’t pitch it until you’re ready. I do like the idea of having one of your kids transfer the messages to a CD for you, though – that way you can keep the memories, and pitch the vehicle. Just my two cents.

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