A friend called to tell me how proud she was that she finally figured a way to know which of her grade-school grandsons she was speaking to on the phone. This friend is part of what I call the Skype generation of long-distance grandparents. Their grandchild voice-identification skills aren’t as sharp as those of us who became grandparents in pre-Skype days. We had no picture-clues to help know the owner of the barely audible voice on the phone.
My friend proudly shared that she pretends she forgets the name of their hockey team. So far neither of her grandsons have figured out what Grammy is up to, but she said her daughter’s laughter in the background signaled she knew what her mom was up to.
My children installed Skype in my home and theirs a few years ago supposedly so Hubby and I could join the Skyping Nanas and Papas. However, it was only used by my barely teen grandkids to communicate with their friends, (but monitored very carefully by the parents.) In my home, the Skype collected dust. It didn’t matter. I didn’t need a picture to tell me which grandson was on the phone. By this time, the crackly voice, a bit baritone yet still soprano, definitely belonged to the teenaged grandson. His younger sister’s voice was usually very cheery while younger brother tends be a bit serious sounding.
Besides the slight differences in my three grandchildren’s voices, as they grew older, their phone answering habits gave me better clues as to who answered the phone in their home. Only the youngest seems to enjoy answering the phone. His siblings check the caller ID if they are within five feet of the ringing object. Then only if they have the time to speak to the caller will they answer. Since neither of their parents, unlike me, is a phone-o-holic, this is not considered rude or unusual behavior in their home. As far as my adult kids—and my husband—are concerned, I waste too many hours each day on the phone “exchanging information” as I prefer to call it. I NEVER gossip! To them a phone is there for their convenience, not the callers. If it is urgent, they hear the message as it is being left by the caller and respond accordingly. To me, if a phone rings, it shall be answered.
Anyway, back to my point. In the last two years, things have changed dramatically. Ma Nature kicked in. Eldest grandson and his father now sound virtually identical, but their response to my query of “what’s doing” is a dead giveaway as to the voice’s owner. “Not a heck of a lot,” is what the father has been responding to that question as long I can remember. Eldest grandson can be counted on to say something like, “Ehh, nothing I guess.”
His seemingly lack of enthusiasm for idle chatter on the phone—typical of his age for boys, (although Hubby still distains it)— makes it hard to believe that when he is standing center stage, he has the voice and personality that this grandma feels will eventually enable him to knock Justin B. out of first place as a teen sensation.
As nature would have it, his younger sister’s voice changed when she hit her teens. The other day I spent two minutes talking to a lively female voice. I was positive it was my granddaughter. It wasn’t until I asked her a question about her classes and a laughing voice responded that she hadn’t been to class since graduating from law school 20 years ago that I knew it was my daughter-in-law.
From now on when I call their home, regardless of who answers, all I’m saying is, “Hi. What’s new?” and while hoping a word or two will tell me with whom I’m chatting, I’m praying someone quickly invents a very inexpensive voice ID contraption for my phone—especially since youngest grandson is set to have Mother Nature make his voice sound exactly like his big brother’s and father’s very soon.