New York Times Readers on Family Heirlooms and Traditions


[Ringtone]

Hello?

Hi,
is
this
James?


Yes!

Hi,
it’s
Adam
at
The
New
York
Times

calling
to
talk
to
you
about
your
story
that
you
submitted
to
our
Heirlooms
project,

about
your
phone
number.

Can
you
tell
me
how
this
number
entered
your
family,

and
your
first
memory
of
encountering
it?

My
father
was
born
and
grew
up

on
the
Lower
East
Side.

And
this
phone
number
was

his
family
phone
number.

He,
my
aunt,
my
grandparents

and
my
great-uncle

all
lived
in
a
tenement
in

what
is
now,
you’d
call,
the
East
Village

but
at
the
time,
this
is
like
the
early
1950s,

was
considered
the
Lower
East
Side.

They
eventually
moved
to
a
cooperative
in
the
neighborhood,

and
the
number
kind
of
moved
with
them

in
the
’60s.

And
then
I
was
born
in
the
late
’70s

on
Long
Island

and,
growing
up,

this
phone
number
was
essentially

my
grandparents’
phone
number
still,

and
I
used
to
call
them
on
it.

And
then,
fast
forward
to
the
late
’90s,

I
came
to
New
York,
into
the
city,

to
go
to
school,
to
go
to
college.

And
I
ended
up
moving
in
with
my
grandfather.

He
was
a
widower,

so
he
took
me
in,
and
we
kind
of
became
roommates.

And
that
number
then
became
my
phone
number.

When
it
came
time
to
get
rid
of
the
landline,

I
had
it
ported
over
to
my
cell
phone.

Area
codes
and
phone
numbers,

they
used
to
geographically
tie

a
person
to
a
place,
right?

Like,

if
you
heard
212,

you
knew
that
was
somebody
in
Manhattan.

Or
718,
or
any
other
place
in
the
country.

I
wanted
to
keep
the
number

mostly
because
it
was
kind
of
a
connection
to

this
place
and
the
neighborhood,
and

I
didn’t
want
to
lose
that.

I
have
a
daughter
who
has
her
own
number,
but

I’ll
probably
try
to
find
a
way
to
give
it
her
at
some
point,

in
some
capacity,
just
to
keep
it
going.



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