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Re: OT: telephones; was: numeration

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Friday, December 17, 2004, 17:36
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dan Sulani" <dansulani@...>

> On 17 Dec, Sally Caves wrote: > >> Are you thinking of a conference call? Back then, a "party line" was >> more >> than one household sharing the same phone number, at a time when people >> were >> making relatively fewer phone calls. > > I remember it more like how Ph.D. describes it:
>> Each house has its own telephone >>number, but only one house can be using the line at >>a given time. If an outsider calls a particular house, it >>rings only at that house, but if someone at one of the >>other houses picks up the telephone, he can now hear >>(and speak on) that conversation.
Oops, I mispoke. I meant sharing the same line, not phone number. Exactly... you had your own phone number, such as 99J (I do remember the operator: "Number please?"), but several houses on your block would share the line. That changed for us only when we moved from the Chicago area to Los Angeles, where we got our own private line. Everything, I remember at the time, was newer and more uptodate in California than it was in Indiana in 1959. Our telephone was beige. That struck me as absolutely awesome! It's hard for me to imagine the psychology of phone discussions back then, when one of your neighbors could just pick up the phone in their house and listen in on your conversation, or reprimand you for talking too long. I suppose among considerate people phone use was for making arrangements to meet to talk, quick questions, dinner plans, and that sort of thing. Among inconsiderate people... <!> I also think it would have been as hard for us to conceive then of the present day cell phone, where people walk around supermarkets or sit in restaurants carrying on loud, personal, one-sided conversations that everyone can hear.
> Regarding other people leaving their telephones > off the hook and thus preventing anyone else > from using the phone: I recall resorting to creative measures > in order to get my phone line back. I'd begin by > making wierd noises with my trumpet, very loudly, > into the phone. If that didn't work, (or if I ran out of > breath before they decided to hang up :-) ), I'd > set up a feedback loop with a radio > turned up to maximum and leave the squeal going > until the phone was free again! Nasty, but effective! :-)
Ha!! I'll have to ask my mother about this one. She may have some funny stories. Sally