They used to be everywhere when I was growing up. But then, I grew up in a big city, not in a cotton field. Among my early memories was my dad taking me across the street from our house and "surprising" mom with a call from the pay phone every few months. It was great fun for me, but obviously in hindsight the point was to teach me at a really early age how to phone home if I needed to.
Dinosaurs, pay phones and land lines. Home phones through cable companies are not the same.
Dad retired in 1981 from Splicing at Michigan Bell. He tells stories of someone's phone being out and I remember this growing up, the phone ringing at 2am to get called in and fix the line somewhere! Dad worked every holiday he could for overtime, because Bell would send out someone on any holiday to fix a line. The company actually had a crew that did nothing but drive around and look at lines to see if anything looked out of place. Imagine that or waste at it's finest.
I read a article last year about jobs that left and will never return some seemed so funny now: Street sweepers, Ice delivery, I think the phone repair people like dad was can be added to this.
But yes very scary how dependent the world is on technology and the what ifs happened. Does everyone really have a plan?? I think I revisit this topic with husband.
Remembering the dime, then 2 dimes Mom had taped inside my belt incase I had to use a payphone.