Why Tony Bennett Never Calls My Mom

My 80-year-old mother has a very full, active life. She knits. She reads. She waits for the mail.


Oh — and she constantly complains to me about receiving prerecorded scam phone calls.

“He called me again the other day!” she scowls at me over her coffee mug.

“Who? Your boyfriend Tony Bennett?” We both laugh. This joke never gets old for either of us.

He's quite dreamy.
He is quite dreamy.

“No! The ro-but!” she yells.

“Oh! You mean you got another robocall?”

“Yes! The RO-BUT!”

Greetings, earthling! This is not Tony Bennett.
Greetings, earthling! This is not Tony Bennett.

“So did you tell him off?” I giggle because I already know the answer.

“He says to me ‘Good morning Senior Citizen!’ First off — how in the hell does he know I’m a senior citizen?! UP YOURS BUDDY! That’s what I told him too!”

“I’m sure he learned his lesson then.”

“And then he has the gall to say, ‘Congrats! You’ve won an all-expense paid trip to the Bahamas! All you have to do is press number five on your phone!’ And I says to him, ‘Oh yeah? How ’bout you press THIS buddy! Huh? How do you like them apples? Is there a number I can press to tell you to go to hell? Jeezum crow!'”

Phones have always been a source of aggravation for my mom, and not just because Tony Bennett never returns her calls. Yesterday she told us a story about how when she was a child, her family didn’t even have a phone. My stunned kids asked how they communicated without texting and she explained how they had to actually walk to the neighbor’s house to talk. This blew their little minds. People used to talk back then? My little mind was blown as well.  People used to walk back then?

“Imagine! When I was a teen, we didn’t even OWN a phone!” my mom said to my kids, a look of sheer terror spreading across their faces.  “If I wanted to get together with my friend, I had to walk three blocks to her house and hope to God she was home! And heaven forbid if there was an emergency, we’d have to walk all the way over to my aunt’s house on the other side of town because she had the only phone! She was always so smug about it too. Oh how we hated her and her stupid phone!”

Such a bitch.
Such a bitch.

Back in the 1940s, my mom’s father was an accountant for L.L. Bean — the actual man, not just the store itself. My grandparents and my mom lived in a house right next door to the famous hunting store. It was the same old house I grew up in as well. We were so close to the retail floor, I was able to sit at the kitchen table, eat my Cheerios and tell the New York tourist trying on the camouflage flannel long johns she should probably go up another size.

But I’m sure my grandfather didn’t think living so close to his workplace was such a good thing when the poor man didn’t even have a phone to screen calls from his pesky boss.

“And get this!” my mom continued.  “Whenever my dad was home on his days off and L.L. needed him to come in to work? He’d just throw open his office window and holler at my dad across the yard, ‘Hey Daniel! Get over here! I need you!'”

“Wow, that’s just insane,” I said. “You had windows back then?”

“Darla! Yes we had windows back then. We weren’t cavemen for god’s sake.”

“So Mom — why do you still phone me all day long when I live right next door to you?” (We currently live in a side by side duplex house and she calls me approximately 15-200 times a day to tell me her remote’s broken.)  “Why don’t you just yell at me through the window like L.L. Bean did in the good old days of yore?”

“Good point. Makes sense. Well, I’ll have to start doing that. And maybe that gall-darn ro-BUT man will stop bugging me. Then I’d free up my phone in case Tony calls!”

Never give up hope, Mom.
Good plan. Never give up hope, Mom.





70 thoughts on “Why Tony Bennett Never Calls My Mom

  1. spartacus2030

    LOL! One time my Grandma called me. I said: ‘Hello’, she said ‘Hello’ I then asked what would you like Grandma? And she said: ‘Oh! Did i call you?

  2. what, no party line? my grandparents shared one with a doctor – old fashioned GP. the phone would ring all hours of the day and night, and they had to count rings to know who it was for. 🙂

  3. Your mom should get call waiting, just in case Tony calls when she’s on the line with Ro-BUT. I remember when we first got it. We thought it was the best thing since LL Bean flannels.

  4. TB – soon to some location “near” you …
    One date in your neck of the woods – at least the one I think is nearest. The August 30th, Bingham NY is probably too far. So the next day he is over in Lenox, MA- still a few miles to cover, though. After that he is coming over to Europe – your mom might not love to travel so far.

      1. Then do it – you know, next time he comes around your Mom might be … you know … *just to cite that post about your mom where she keeps saying she might not be there to witness that*

  5. I come from the same timezone as your mum and I’m *only* fifty one! No phone growing up. Misery for a teen’s social life. We eventually got one when I left home. Maybe my leaving at something to do with that? Who knows?

    Anyway, I wouldn’t go back to those phone free times.

  6. It’s funny you mentioned the remote. My mother in law is “slipping a few gears” as my father in law likes to say. She is often frustrated when her phone rings and she tries to answer the TV remote. My father in law also gets frustrated, because she turns the channel in the process.

  7. We had a party line, too, and had to count the rings to know who the phone call was for (ours was two long, one short … ) We shared with Grandma who was a bit of a heavy breather. I think she was waiting for Lawrence Welk’s call 🙂

    Jeezum crow this is a fun post!

    1. haha! Funny you mentioned Lawrence Welk, my grandmother LOVED him. She was very hard of hearing so she used to sit there in front of the TV on Saturday night and blast him so loud the neighbors in the next county could hear it.

      1. she must have been related to my Grandma b/c her console TV sat about 400′ feet from their chairs and the volume was always on MAX — us kids would lie on the carpet in front of the TV and I think I’ve lost some hearing from that experience 🙂 MJ

  8. My grandparents lived on a farm in Kansas and we had to use (gasp) an outhouse. There was a pump in the kitchen sink because they used a well not running water. I thought the pump was cool but hated that outhouse. They got inside plumbing in the 60’s but we kids still had to use the outhouse (so not fair and scary at night, well scary in the day too since I was small and worried constantly about falling in). I was secretly happy when grandpa accidentally burned the outhouse down but at the same time terrified because he managed to burn himself trying to put the blaze out (I think they moved to town not long after that episode).
    I may write my own post about that.
    Hope Tony calls soon!

      1. Yeh or cell phone. My dad’s parents, the ones down on the farm, were born in the 1800’s (yeh I am old, but I look good) and didn’t take to new fangled thingabobs too well.

    1. heehee! Can you imagine having to walk whenever you wanted to talk to your best friend? And like my mom said, what if she wasn’t there? Then you’d have to schlep alllll the way back home. Lots of walking going on then apparently. Craziness.

  9. In high school, we didn’t have call waiting yet (let alone anything so crazy as an answering machine). I used to get in all kinds of trouble because I’d be chatting away with my friends while my mom was trying to call home from work to talk about the dinner plan. Eventually, she gave up and got call waiting. The answering machine didn’t come until I had already left for college, though. Man, I’m old.

  10. Jeezum crow your mom is fab, have I told you that in the last couple of days?

    I love the horror at the tales of actual walking and talking. Pretty soon we’ll be legless beings with ginormous thumbs because all we do is sit around and texturize.

    How I envy your source of great material, DD Bean. I can’t say ANYthing about my folks because they have figured out how to actually read my blog on occasion. Damn.

    1. What’s really sad is I cannot get the hang of texting. My ginormous arthritic thumbs refuse.

      And DD Bean is the best nickname yet. I think I’ll invent a waterproof hunting boot and make millions off that name now.

      1. Yeah, DD Bean. Like the sound of that. Great post about your Mom and the old days before instantaneous communication. We had a phone but rarely used it unless it had to do with work or school. We walked or, I preferred my bicycle. I could get there faster and have a breeze while pedaling during the hot summer days. If I wanted to talk to someone, hell yes, I was walking over there unless plans were made at school.
        My hubby and I went through the daily “remote not working (or phone) nightmare” with his Dad for a couple years before he passed. Since Pat was the only in-town kid, guess who got to run over and reset it for him. You’re right – too many buttons to get things messed up.

  11. I hate phones so much (I don’t count my handheld computer thing as a phone, cause I don’t use it for that), that I contemplated going back in time to beat up Alexander Graham Bell and telling him that they suck and robots would be calling people in the future so don’t bother.

      1. She sounds like an interesting lady. Sigh. I have this odd tack of writing about older ladies. I don’t know why. Maybe because they’re at something like an opposite point of life to me. That probably sounds trite, though.

  12. Oh man, Darla. Those Ro-buts are out of control here as well! More so than ever. WTH? I so sympathize with your mom. Sometimes when I pick up and they ask is this is me, I tell them it depends who is calling. Or I answer in a very deep voice that I am not who they are seeking. Relentless!

    I can just picture your kids in disbelief that your mom didn’t even have a phone in the house! They just cannot process that this could really have happened. LOL. You should set up some kind of Morse Code with your mom so that she knocks on the wall certain amount of times depending on her needs. Fixing the remote could be three knocks, or she could just punch a hole on the wall to ensure that you go help her. 🙂 Nice to hear from you this summer.

  13. Have I mentioned that I love your mom? Because I do.
    I seem to be a bit younger than most of the folks reading this, but I do remember the rotary phone my grandparents used to have (they eventually replaced it with a cordless phone when I was in middle school, as I recall). I thought it was pretty cool when I was a kid, though I liked the push-button phone we had better. We always had an answering machine (I thought the tiny cassette tapes were the coolest thing ever), but we didn’t get a cordless phone until my junior year of high school. And I was the last person in the family to get a cell phone. Before that, I had to *gasp* use the landline and *gasp* memorize the phone numbers! Now my phone does the memorizing for me. My mom’s had the same cell number for ages and I still can’t remember it. 😛

  14. rheapatel22

    Your blog is great! I was hoping you could. Kindly visit my blog and like or comment p. anything you found interesting?

  15. Darla … We must have been upscale when we lived in the country. We were on a 7-party line. This was in the late 50s, early 60s. Eavesdropping wasn’t an option because many on the same line spoke Polish – a language where I only know a few words and phrases. I understand about the ro-but calls. It’s why I gave up answering my phone until I know for sure that it’s a friend or someone I need to talk to.

    Tell, your mom to keep the faith. I’m sure Tony just misplaced her phone number. 😉

  16. Pingback: Love You (Part 1) – She's A Maineiac

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