Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Our First Telephone

courtesy free clip art
The year was 1936 and my dad needed to have a telephone so he could be called if there was extra work on the railroad. 

My Uncle lived with us and he also worked for the railroad and he too needed to use the phone for work.  Interesting enough my Uncle had a girl friend that worked for the telephone company and she was one of the operators.

Although we lived in the big city, we were on a party line, and sometimes the other party was using the phone so we would quietly hang up to be polite.

Our black telephone was tall with the speaker attached, and the receiver was on a cord.  When we picked up the receiver an operator spoke and said, “Number please.”  Then we would say “Fruitvale 456” and she would connect us to our party. 

In those days there was a district prefix that you would mention first then a short number, ours was Fruitvale, but there was Fairfax, Diamond and others.

I was in grammar school in the first grade, and was very interested in the telephone.  One day my mother was working in the garden, so I quietly lifted the receiver and heard “Number please.”

I gave her some silly numbers and then she quietly asked, “How is your mother today?”  I told her “She is fine.” “And what is she doing?”  “She is picking vegetables in the garden.”  Then she asked how my uncle was?  I was surprised and said, “Do you know me?  She said, I sure do, and it has been nice talking to you, but you had probably better go help your mother and tell her I said hello.  Good bye now and please hang up.”  I told her good bye and carefully hung up the phone.  I never did tell my mother the operator said to say "Hello."

I can’t honestly say that was my last phony phone call, but it was my first.  

Later when we kids were older, and we now had dial phones, we made some prank calls asking if their refrigerator was running?  When they replied yes, we told them to run and catch it - - as we laughed and hung up.   I hope you never did anything like that!

Changes happened quickly and soon we had a dial phone, no more party line and the operators were now for long distance and information please.  The phone numbers changed too although they were not as long as we have now.  To make a long distance call, you dialed “O” and told the operator the city, state and the number.

Our phones of today are friendly and we program the numbers of our friends and family.  Many carry their phone in their purse or pocket, ready to take pictures and receive e-mail.  Amazing how fast some can text a message without even speaking.

It is not a fearful thing to use a phone and I think of contacting our Father in Heaven with a whisper.  We should not fear to speak to our God.  He is a God we and run to in confidence.

Hebrews 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain
mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

This post has been shared with Tracy at Winsome Wednesday



  1. I love reading your stories and the thought of having an open line with God. Call anytime. No busy line:)

  2. I remember party lines. I also have to admit that we did our share of prank phone calls too. Big surprise! It's funny looking back what we thought was funny as kids.

    All the technology to bring us closer with more convenience and yet as you said, mankind can't replicate the closeness of our omnipotent Father. What a wonderful thought to take into the day. Thanks, Hazel.

  3. Sometimes I miss the ring of my grandmother's old phone - and I miss the rotary dial. Mostly, I miss dialing my grandmother's number and her being on the other end:)

  4. Oh, Hazel, that's funny, you're conversation with the operator. She was a sweet and wise woman, wasn't she? Thanks for sharing these fun memories!


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