Years ago, living an ocean away from family members, the only time we received an overseas phone call was when someone died.
At boarding school we were allowed one phone call home a week. There were only so many phones on campus we could use for international calls. Because others were waiting, we were on a time limit--or until we got cut off. Pre-war crank phones...first request was the local operator who then rang the international operator to "book" our call. Then it was back in line while we waited for the operator to ring back.
The house we lived in my senor year in high school didn't even have a phone. When I went back several years later, it was a shock to hear a phone ringing! Our number? Oliotokitok 81. I had to put that on my "next of kin" paperwork for my Navy enlistment paperwork (along with a map to find the house...Turn off the Nairobi road, head up the mountain, turn right at the gate before the border post. Be sure to honk and the guard will come answer.)
My children are among the first generation of video phone calls. They've always had Skype. My mom would read bedtime stories to my son from an ocean away. My daughter's first steps were witnessed via Skype. For them, it's a perfectly normal way to communicate!
Tonight they got to chitchat with their dad who is currently elsewhere. Nothing can replace daddy hugs and snuggles, but this certainly makes the separation more bearable.