Fiorella's parents had a four-party line, then a two-party line, and, as time marched on, a private line. But long distance was prohibitively expensive, especially when the family moved fifteen hundred miles away from relatives, which meant they called "home" only on Christmas and Easter.
Along the way, four-digit phone numbers went up to five, then received two digit prefixes, and long distance rates began going down. Then area codes were assigned for long distance. Next came the cell phone, and now, those area codes have become mandatory for local calls too, as in 123-456-7890.
Show this post to your children for history's sake, although they'll never believe people communicated without Smartphones.