Tag Archives: relatives

“Hello! Who’s there?”

Much has been written regarding the sharp decline in the art of writing notes in this age of text messages, email, Facebook and Twitter. Recently, I realized another decline in the art of communication – telephone etiquette.

Obviously, I date myself by evening bringing up the subject.  When we were younger, we were taught how to properly make a telephone call, answer the phone, and so on. The parents of one of my friends were so strict about the proper way to answer the phone in their house that she persists with it today.

“Hello, Smith residence, this is Mary speaking.”

And she is single – the only person living there!

This came up when we recently received a phone call from one of our 11-year old relatives.


Silence….finally “Hi”

“Hello. Who is this?”

Silence…finally, in a baby-like voice “This is Mallory!”

“Hi, Mallory. What can I do for you today?”

More silence….finally, “Oh, nuthin.”

And so it went on. Like trying to dig a splinter out of my thumb.

When I mentioned this to Mrs. Poolman, she said, “Why are you surprised? Have you talked with her parents lately? Who do you think is supposed to teach her?”

I realized that Mrs. P was right. We have received frequent calls from relatives in their 20s who call and simply say, “Hey!” and apparently wait for the recipient of the call to guess who they are and why they are calling.

You would think someone of our generation (50s) would know better, but they don’t. We have several friends who almost never identify themselves when they call. And some of them show annoyance when I ask, “And who is calling, please?”

I would recognize the voices of Mrs. Poolman, my two children and my father. After that, it’s a crap shoot. Caller ID works some of the time. I only look at it part of the time anyway. And if just shows a number and not a name, it’s not much help.

That last part is courtesy of the contact list built into my cell phone. I don’t even know Mrs. P’s cell number without looking it up. All I know is that it’s in my cell phone contact list under “Mrs. Poolman.

Recently, I received a call from the middle of my three sisters,  Margaret. I recognized her voice, but I thought I’d “zing” here anway.”

Margaret: “Hi Poolman! This is your favorite sister.”

Me: “Oh, hi, Kathy! I’m glad you called. I really want to hear more about what you were saying about Margaret yesterday.”

As they say on “The Big Bang Theory”…Bazinga!

And Mrs. Poolman says I still don’t understand why people don’t call me.


A great visit

We had a great visit with some family this week. Of all the relatives on my side of the Poolman family, we are really only in regular touch with my father’s two siblings and their families. The sister, “C”, lives in Pittsburgh. She and Uncle J have five children, just like my parents. Since childhood, my siblings and I have probably been closer to that family than any other relatives. Dad’s brother, “D,” and his family live in Atlanta, and in recent adulthood, the Savannah branch (Poolman) have grown closer to them. However for most of our childhood they were geographically distant.

For Aunt C and Uncle J, Hilton Head Island is their regular vacation spot. They usually come down for a week or two in the summer and a couple of weeks in the winter. We are very flattered that they always want to visit with us as part of their vacation. We have had some great visits both in Savannah and on Hilton Head over the years.

This year, they wanted to come to Savannah along with their friends and vacation buddies, Tom and Jerri. I took a half-day off work Monday and Mrs. Poolman cleaned and cooked in prep for their visit. We took them out to Tybee Island and then returned tour house for extensive visiting and dinner. Poolboy and his GF joined us, as did Writer Princess and Son-in-Law.

It was a great time had by all. They are a lively, funny and rambunctious group. Uncle J is a great story teller. Aunt C is so admired, that it’s a bit of a family joke; for Mrs. Poolman and other females of the family,  Aunt C is the person they want to be “when they grow up.” Tom and Jerri fit the same mold. Not a dull moment. I hope I’m still as much a social-party animal when I’m at or approaching 80.

Uncle J did tell one story that made me wonder “What the heck is going on here?” Like most of the northeast, the Pittsburgh has been hit with massive snowfalls this winter. The weekend before Christmas (actually when I was up there visiting), Jack fell and dislocated a finger while out shoveling snow.

So I asked him this week, “What in heavens name, is a guy who is nearly 80 years old doing out shoveling his driveway? Can’t you hire a neighborhood kid to do that?”

The answer – “No!”

They live in an upscale suburban neighborhood. Apparently there are plenty of teen aged kids around, but none of them have any desire to get out and earn some extra money by doing a little manual labor. Their parents provide them with so much spending money, they have no need to get out and work up a sweat.

I’m sure Uncle J would be more than happy to pay a kid $20-30 (or whatever the going rate would be) to shovel/blow his driveway and walk  — maybe an hour’s work or less. Multiply that by a few more customers, and a teen could pocket $100-150 for a few hours work. “No, thanks. Don’t need it.” That’s sad.