Calling Mom

Vintage Wall Phone

My dad liked to collect things… well… sort of acquire things he suddenly took a fancy to. This old telephone was one of those things and it ended up following me around from house to house for many years before finally disappearing. I always liked this old phone (it looks like it has a face!), but never had a place to display it nor knew how to hang it properly.

So, it just sat on the floor laying against various walls in various houses. This doodlewash is an ode to that old phone. And since I now rarely use the “phone app” on my smartphone, preferring to text, this always reminds me of nearly the only person I talk to on the telephone – my mother.

My mother lives in Texas now and we only see each other a couple times a year. Neither of us are particularly good about using a telephone so it’s not uncommon to go weeks without talking to each other. Our running joke is that whoever finally decides to break the silence and actually call says, “Hi, it’s me. I’m returning your call.”

Not sure why I wouldn’t call more, because conversations with my mother are always entertaining as I’m never sure what will pop out of her mouth. You’re likely to hear bits of wisdom like these: “It’s kind of like a porno… people say there’s a story to it, but there’s no story to it,” or, “I’m kinda glad I grew up in the 50’s. We didn’t have to wear slingshots for underwear in the 50’s,” or “Well, apparently, having sex with a dead woman is only a misdemeanor.”

I remember when I was talking to her about first meeting Philippe. I was excited to be traveling to Paris to spend time with him for a few weeks, but worried that my ability to speak Spanish was not going to be very helpful there. I was visiting my mother for Christmas and had just ordered a new in-depth French language course. This was the conversation:

Charlie: So I’m trying to learn some French before I visit Philippe in Paris.
Mom: That’s good! Have you seen those commercials for Rosetta Stone?
Charlie: No, I don’t have cable, why?
Mom: There’s this one with a 30 year old man on there and he says, “Now I can speak to my parents in Japanese.” I was like… if your parents wanted you to speak to them in Japanese, why the hell didn’t they teach you?!”

This is the wonderful logic I grew up with and I have to admit that it’s served me well in life. I really love hearing about the world through my mother’s eyes and ears. You usually feel like you’re starting in the middle of the story, but that’s all part of the fun. The conversation will take a whiplash turn from a political tirade to the inexplicable discovery that “their neighbor’s cows were coming over and licking the siding on the house. I mean, what’s wrong with those cows?!”

Everyone has a different relationship with their families as well as with their phones, but I’m just fine with mine. Sometimes it’s the things you do the least that you remember the most. And out of all the crazy things I’ve done in life, the most cherished memories will always be the simpler ones. Those rare times when I remembered to press the phone app, and found myself calling mom.

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
40 Comments
  1. Sand Salt Moon 2 years ago

    Your mom sounds a bit like my mom … and we had a phone like that but it was a reproduction.

  2. Damita M-S 2 years ago

    My sister collected phones so I understand. I’m in Texas born and raised. Love that your mom is in Texas!

    • Author

      Nice! Yes…she left home when I was 18 and moved there to be with my dad. I’ve been going there for Christmas more than I did in my hometown of Kansas City! 😊

  3. Nancy 2 years ago

    Your Mom sounds like a hoot! I wanna call her!! (We had a phone like that in our kitchen when I was growing up except it was a radio disguised as a phone)

    • Author

      Oh wow! Your phone sounds cool, Nancy!! ❤️😃And yes..you can call my mother! You’d really like her, she’s awesome. And you’re probably better at using the phone app than I am. 😊

  4. Kari 2 years ago

    I have never seen a phone like this. Beautiful! Your mom is so funny!

  5. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    The phone does look like a face! Great sketch from memory, Charlie! Families are interesting – glad you have a good relationship with your mom. 😊

    • Author

      Thanks Jill!! ❤️😃 I KNEW you’d see the face too!! Hehe…it’s what made me like it! And yes…I do have a good relationship, but she she “hates” it when I blog about her. 😉😊 But it’s only the idea of it as she doesn’t have a computer and won’t be reading this.

  6. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    It’s no wonder you are such a riot; your mom is, too! I try to never call anyone if I can help it either. I used to call my mom once a month, but now that she’s gone, I call my dad even less often. I love old phones and I love your painting of the old phone!

    • Author

      You should have heard my grandmother!! Lol The only family is perfectly insane. 😊 Glad to know I’m not the only one avoiding the phone app. Thanks Teresa! ❤️😃

      • Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

        I’ll bet by-standers had the best laugh when the three of you got together! 😀

      • Author

        They were usually part of the family and therefore just as crazy. Lol It’s when I was dating that it got weird and uncomfortable. 😳

      • Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

        *snort* Yeah, it’s always a nerve-wracking time to see if one’s wonderfully wacky family might scare off a new date… 😀

  7. kirkistan 2 years ago

    That’s a cool old phone. Great image. Your mom sounds like a blast to talk with.

    • Author

      Thanks Kirk! 😃She’s awesome! I toyed with the idea of giving everyone her number so they could call her. Hehe 😉

      • kirkistan 2 years ago

        That is really funny. I’m not good about calling my parents. I’ve to get better at that.

      • Author

        Yeah…you and me both! She actually “returned my call” last night and inspired this post. If nothing else, I should call or more for the material. 😉

  8. Jodi 2 years ago

    You are a lucky guy to have such a great Momma! And she is lucky to have you for a son! Great phone doodlewash! 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks Jodi! ❤️😃 I am a really lucky guy. 😊 She’s always supported me and my love of the arts! She was also a wonderful stage mom during my acting days, but that’s another story for another day! Lol

  9. Snehal Kank 2 years ago

    Beautiful illustration, I like the texture! Nice to know about your mom 🙂 I do call my dad everyday except weekend, after all I am daddies girl! Generally daughters have good connection with dads 😎😆

    • Author

      Awww that’s so sweet to hear, Snehal! ❤️😃I’m so happy that you do! You’ve a very lucky dad! And so happy you liked this little doodlewash. 😊

  10. artandmoondreams 2 years ago

    Beautiful sketch of a vintage phone…love those older phones, they had character, like your sketch, you and your mother apparently ;D. Thank you for such a delightful story, loving, tender and with a good amount of laughter. Peace.

  11. memadtwo 2 years ago

    A friend told me that the millennials in his office don’t even know how to use a phone. They don’t have the least idea of phone etiquette either. Another lost art, like telling time from a non-digital clock, or tying one’s shoes, or script handwriting…(K)

    • Author

      I know…it’s sad how many things are going away, and I’m not sure the alternatives are actually better. Script handwriting is the sadness one (even though I hate my handwriting, I at least appreciate that I can sort of do it…hehe). Yeah…I’ve experienced the lack of phone etiquette and it’s weird! Lol

  12. Beautiful work as usual Charlie and I did see a face first off! :))) Happy Tuesday, friend!

  13. amaryllislog 2 years ago

    Aw great post, love your phone and your convos with mom. She sounds great and so humorous. I too have an affliction for avoiding the phone, glad to hear its not just me.

    • Author

      It’s not! Hehe…and Philippe is the same way. We both hate talking on the phone. 😳😊 So happy you liked the post Cathe!! 😃

  14. Jishnu Bandyopadhyay 2 years ago

    Loved your blog! Can you give me some feedback on mine?https://iamjishnu.wordpress.com/

  15. kungfunaomi 2 years ago

    😀 My grandma has a phone like that on her wall!
    Oh, and I love the Rosetta Stone joke. I do winder, if your parents speak Japanese, than why don’t you, that’s just common logic. 🙂
    I’m taking Rosetta Stone to learn Spanish. 🙂

    • Author

      Nice Naomi! I tried Rosetta Stone for French, but I keep getting distracted with other things and never finished it 😊😊

      • kungfunaomi 2 years ago

        It’s a little difficult in the later levels! I have to use google translate the first time I hear some of the words because the pictures don’t help with like, “bad.” and stuff like that.

      • Author

        Yeah…I’ll bet it turns into that. And some of their pictures are just so bad and oddly chosen! Lol

  16. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your family story Charlie. Isn’t wonderful as we grow in years we can appreciate our families idiosyncrasies ( however bizarre 😊). I love the old phone doodlewash.

    • Author

      It’s so true Sharon…what once might have bugged me I now find endearing! And thanks friend! ❤️😃Glad you liked the doodlewash!

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