Oh, the tales you’ll hear on smalltown telephones
By Margaret Melloy Guziak
Telephones have come a long way. No longer are there phone booths along highways or outside convenience stores. You remember those? When you stopped to use one, it required the exact change to make a call. Or if you simply stopped to look up someone in the phone book, the page you needed had been ripped out, or the book removed completely, leaving only a dangling strap where it had been. Nobody misses those.
Now everyone has a cell phone. Many like to text instead of talk. Most of us have special phone numbers programmed into our phones, so you only have to hit one number and the phone automatically rings the party you are calling. How cool is that?
We always had one rotary phone in our home growing up in Wilmington, Del. It was on my mother’s little, marble-topped desk in the corner of our dining room. When it rang, my brothers and I always rushed to answer it first and if it was for me, they’d call out my name, disappointed that it wasn’t for them. I’d take the phone, stretching the cord as far as it would go, into the kitchen for privacy before saying “hello.”
When we moved to rural Michigan at age 24, we’d signed a six-month lease on a house before my husband started college in the fall at Michigan State University. It was my first introduction to country living. We’d only been there a day, and I was feeling very homesick. I picked up the receiver to call my mother. But there was someone already talking on the line.
“Who is this?” I asked, impatiently, “and why are you on my phone?”
“Myrtle, who’s that?” a little, timid voice squeaked.
“Beat’s me,” her friend, Myrtle, answered. “Just ignore her.”
“Why are you two on my phone? My husband got this phone for me and I need to call my mother,” I whined. “Get off my phone! When he gets home from work, I’ll have him call the phone company and tell them the telephone lines got crossed up somehow.”
“Myrtle, what is she talking about?”
“I don’t know, but let’s hang up and let her use ‘her’ phone,” she said sarcastically. I think it might be that young couple who just moved in a mile down the road.”
I called my mother, and relayed what had happened. She said, “You’d better tell Ray when he gets home to get it straightened out for you.”
And that was the first thing I did when he walked in. “Ray, someone was talking on our phone when I tried to use it. I told them to get off and they did. The phone company must have mixed our line with someone else’s.”
Looking at me incredulously, he answered, “You never heard of a party line? That’s what we have. When you live in the country, that’s how they set it up. Unless it’s an emergency, you never tell someone to get off the line. It’s their line as much as yours.”
Whoops! One more thing this eastern city gal had to learn.
There was a recent article in the Daily Sentinel about considering whether to move the outdoor stage to another part of the Civic Center lawn or not. Isn’t it great that we live in an area where that is their biggest “problem” under consideration in town? Are we lucky or what?
Get ready to tour the moon
The decision to allow the “Tour of the Moon” bike race to be held this year is pending and hopefully, will be decided in February. Barbara Bowman, Director of Sales and Division Manager of the Grand Junction Visitor & Convention Bureau (GJVCB)appeared on TV talking about it. I’ve known Barb, a great gal, for many years. Both she and Debbie Kovalik, the executive director of GJVCB, have always been very enthusiastic about promoting the Grand Valley from Palisade to Fruita and attending many of the events.
Right now, the committee is considering starting it at the west entrance, instead of east entrance to Colorado National Monument. This will definitely benefit Fruita, so all the business owners or retail businesses, restaurants and motels will gear up for the anticipated influx of visitors. And isn’t it wonderful, guys, that we get to live here in the Grand Valley year round!
Baby, it’s cold outside
It has been very cold outside but every time we feel like complaining about the frigid temperatures, we stop ourselves. Just gazing up at those Colorado blue skies and the wondrous cliffs and rocks frosted with snow on the Bookcliffs, on the Colorado National Monument, or on Mount Garfield and the Grand Mesa is a joy for all of us to experience from inside our warm houses or outside in the clear, windless air.
“In seed time, learn; in harvest time, teach; in winter, enjoy.” (William Blake, English poet and painter)
In future columns …
• Changing our Colorado National Monument to a National Park. Are you pro or con? Let me know your opinion. We won’t use your name. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• “Good luck” foods from different parts of the country: Philadelphia’s Scrapple; Southerners’ Grits and Black-eyed peas; or Cleveland’s Fried cabbage and bacon.
• Book recommendations for 2013. Joining a book club or how to start one.
• Birthday breakfasts or luncheons in Fruita. When and where?
• How can you learn to use your Ipad or Kindle Fire? Learn something new this year, either playing a musical instrument or a foreign language. Who is the professional musician giving weekly group guitar lessons in Fruita “for donation only”?
• The death of an “old friend” whom I’ve never met. Who is he and why is he famous?