People who spend their days talking and texting on their cell phones, or checking e-mail and internet, may not realize what they are missing from the old days of communications. Because things have changed a lot.

Here's just one example: I moved to Sioux Falls in January 1975, and in those days you had to contact the telephone company--for us Northwestern Bell--to get service.

Of course, you didn't have service yet, so you had to go somewhere else to make a call to get a phone. Are you with me so far?

Now the apartment I moved into at the eastern edge of Sioux Falls had a phone in it, but it wasn't mine and there was no service yet anyway.

I made arrangements with Bell for a technician to come to my place, but we missed connections. But unbeknownst to me they had done the necessary connecting work downtown so that would be done when they got to my apartment.

So there I was in my new apartment, no phone service and the previous resident's non-functioning phone in a corner of the place. I tried to call out on it, but couldn't.

But then that phone rang, and was I ever startled. Completely flabbergasted, I answered it and it was a college friend calling from Brookings.

He said he had gotten my number from Directory Assistance and that's how I found out Bell had hooked me up downtown even though I couldn't call out.

And that's how I learned my phone number, by asking my friend about the number he had called.

As I said, things have changed a lot. Think about it the next time you use your smartphone.