I appreciate the efforts of a local historian (Ruth Morgan) who writes a weekly column for my newspaper on various aspects of life in the days gone by.
Today her column was entitled “Number Please.” Boy, did that bring back memories. Phone numbers in those days were something like 327, or as was the case of a friend – just plain 9.
If you’re under 50, you may not know that during the 50s, all we had to do was pick up the phone and wait for a nice operator (a real live operator) to ask “Number please.” She would connect you immediately or tell you the line was busy.
The advent of the rotary dial was a pain in the neck, because it took so much longer.
Many were the nights when, as a budding teenager, I would go to my room to do “homework.” That meant I would call my friends and chat about events of the day. Invariably, the operator would cut in and say, “Emily you need to get off the phone, your Daddy has an emergency – I think Mrs. So and So is having her baby.”
My friend Linda Hazlewood lived in the country and was on what we called a “party line” with several other families. You could NEVER reach her – or if you did, you could hear other parties picking up and listening in.
My girl friends would get together on Friday nights and call up our boyfriend of the hour to ask if his refrigerator was running. When they said yes, we would tell them to run catch it. (I know, I know. There wasn’t much going on in West Point, Mississippi in the 50s.)
I was beside myself on my 16th birthday when Daddy presented me with a pink “princess” phone with my very own line. He just got tired of fighting me, I guess.
Who could imagine the day would arrive when we would walk around with our phones in our pockets – or glued to our heads. There are times I wish we could go back to the days of being able to leave the phone at home!