Down Memory Lane

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Telephone Operator

By Joyce Caughron Rhodes

Over and over we hear people say, “You can’t go back,” but our memories can and do take us back, even if we don’t want to go there. This is one of the good memories. I always wanted to work for the Telephone Office and got the chance in 1952 and worked until the office went dial in July 1957.
There are so many memories of that period.
One thing that comes to mind is when I was working late one evening, expecting a baby in about two months. A storm came up and while I was holding the metal plug or jack in my hand. I was getting ready to plug it into the board, to say, “Number please?” and the lightning struck and cracked real loud. The lightning ran into the jack I was holding and I could feel the current going through my body. I started crying because I was afraid the lightning had killed my baby. Needless to say, we were both okay and Rhonda was born two months later.
There were many Saturday nights when many of the patrons had had too much to drink. I remember one in particular, he became so bothersome after a period of time, that I connected him to the jail.
The jailor picked up the phone and said, “Alright, jail.” The person calling slammed down his phone and did not call back that night.
I had an unusual request one day. A farmer and cattleman, Mr. Joe Schenk called in and said, “Operator, I want to talk to a man who owns a red bull and I don’t know his name. I know he lives in (he gave me the name of the town and state),” but, he said, “I have no idea what his name is.” I told him I would try to find the man. I thought, “now how will I find him?” Then I thought, “I know, the Sheriff will probably know, they know everyone,” so I called the Sheriff of that town and he supplied me with the name of the owner of the red bull. I must say, I made Mr. Joe very happy that day.
Now, the one that really made my day or evening was when a very intoxicated man (I won’t say his name) called in. He said, “Operator, I want number, (he gave the number),” and I said, “Sir, that’s the number you are calling from,” and he said, “I don’t care. I want that number, anyway.” I said, “Okay, hang up your phone and I will ring it.” He hung up his phone and I rang the number.
In a minute he called back and said, “Operator, who was calling me?” I said, “You were.” He said, “Okay, thanks” and hung up.
These are just a few of the many things that happened.
I can truthfully say, I never worked for a better company and a better bunch of fellow workers.

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