Did you have a party line?

In the  fifties, we had a five digit phone number…

51916

And we were also part of  a party line. For you youngsters, a party line is a shared telephone line, with other people  in your neighborhood also using it whenever they wanted to.

As a result, if you picked up the phone, and someone was talking, you had to hang up.  If you had an emergency, you MIGHT, if lucky, be given the opportunity to use the phone.

Or you might not.

We shared a party line with Mrs. Scalo.  And she had a favorite phone partner named Emma who would get to hear  Mrs. Scalo drop tons of F bombs, and it didn’t matter what she was talking about.

Mrs. Scalo was always on the phone.  And I would love to listen in to her profane rants.  So I would quietly pick up the phone and listen in.

“Emma, that g’dam f’ing DiNunzio kid is listening in.   Get off  the phone, you little son of a bitch.”

And  I  would hang up.

Now, I am trying to remember  if we had  other party liners at  the same time as Mrs. Scalo, but I can’t.

At some point in time, I am guessing the sixties, we moved up to the world of private phone lines.

And  that was a VERY BIG deal.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………

I can tell you  one  person who was happy about the private line.

My Dad.

At approximately nine o’clock every night, Dad’s employer, the Maybrook railroad, would call for his work assignment, and I would usually take the call.

The guy on the  line would bark, “Westbound pullout, 10:55”.

And  my Dad, who was in bed, but never asleep, would ask me what the guy said.

And one other person was happy about  the private line.

My  Mom.

Mom and her sister, Helen, lived about 200 yards apart from each other.  And they were either physically present with each other or on the phone constantly.

And when Aunt Helen died at a young age, a big part of Mom died, also.  She  never got over it.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Today we carry our own private line with us wherever we go, and  we take it for granted.

Totally.

How the hell did we survive?

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s