Letter: Making call was adventure during days of phone booths

To the editor:

Once upon a time, there were little glass houses on the street corners of towns and cities. They were just big enough for one person to crowd into and close the folding door. There was a little seat if you chose to sit down.

The little house, called a booth, kept out the noise of the traffic and kept people from hearing what you said. Now inside was a telephone. No, no, not what you think of as a telephone.

It was a big black thing which was fastened to the wall. The part where you talked and listened was fastened to the telephone with a cord. This was not to keep people from stealing it, but it was part of the system.

Hanging on the wall was a phone book. Now when someone found the telephone number they were looking for, and to remember it, some would rip out the page and put it in their pocket. This caused much cussing from the next person who was looking up numbers.

Now to use the phone, you needed a pocketful of coins. As you slipped the coins in the slots, a little bell would ring. In the earlier phones, a nice lady would answer with, “Number, please.” No, this was not a robot. It was a lady making 25 cents an hour poking plugs into holes.

Later, the phones had a disk with holes in it. You inserted your finger in the correct holes and twilled it around until you had completed your number. In case there was no answer, you got your money back, much like winning on a slot machine.

If you talked too long, the lady would come back with, “Insert coins to continue.” Now, you fumbled around in your pocket or purse trying to find the correct amount before the lady would disconnect you.

Also, if you were long-winded, there would be someone banging on the door calling you all kinds of names.

Oh, how our younger generation has missed out on the thrill of making a phone call.

Don Hill