… party lines?
It was from a comment from Lisa Noble a couple of weeks ago that got me thinking about this. I had to wait until now to post since we had to honour Hallowe’en.
I am often grateful for my in-laws, with their stovetop perk, party line phone, and other “anachronisms”. My teenaged kids have a much better sense than most of their peers of different generations of technology.
Similar to this, yes, it was with my in-laws that I learned about party lines!
They moved from the farm into town and kept their phone number. It was one of the great ones; local code and then 3120. There was no excuse for ever losing my girlfriend’s number!
But it was a real experience for me. They had a rotary phone, a pulse connection, and they were on a party line.
We didn’t. I felt so rich.
This meant that they shared the physical line with someone else. I don’t know that they ever knew who that person was but the lady sure liked her phone.
It seemed like every time someone on our end would pick up the phone, she’d be right in there “Line, please. Line please”, expecting you to hang up so that she could make her calls. It used to drive my in-laws crazy – but not crazy enough to dump it.
And forget about calling in. The connection was always busy!
Eventually, Bell cleaned things up and the party line became a thing of the past. But, getting tone service instead of pulse was out of the question because it cost more.
So, for a Sunday, your thoughts (I’m sure those guys who live/lived in NYC and drop by here every now and again are laughing) …
- do you have or did you ever have a party line?
- do you know someone who has a party line today?
- did you ever have pulse service? How about a rotary phone? If you had it in the 70s, it probably was chocolate, avocado, or sunshine, right?
- when getting connected online meant using a modem and dialing in, did you rent a second line for the modem?
- did you ever run a Bulletin Board Service and required a second line for the purpose?
- do you remember when Bell was a monopoly for phone service? Are you still through them or do you use a different carrier?
- do you still have a land line today or have you given that up in favour of being available 24/7 through your smartphone?
Please dial back your memories and share where you came from via the comments below.
This is part of a regular Sunday fun series of posts – you can access them all here.
And, keep talking about the good old days and the good old things. You might inspire a post like Lisa did or you can share your idea in this Padlet that’s collecting ideas for just this purpose.