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  1. #1
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    Using telephones in the 1950's

    Hi all,
    I was just watching an old movie from 1933 and it brought back memories of when I was young in the 1950's. I thought it would be fun to post a few of my thoughts to share with you.

    Back in the 50's we had 'party lines'. That meant that when you had phone service, there were at least 3 other families who shared the line, sometimes up to 5.

    Everyone had their own phone number, and each phone number was assigned a special ring. So, when a call came in, you might hear a long ring, a double-short ring or 3 short rings. So, you had to know how your phone would ring to know if the call was for you.

    If you wanted to make a call out, you might hear someone else engaged in a conversation when you lifted the receiver. So, you had to wait until the line was free.

    We had those old heavy black phones. Boy, when thinking about how people today are so concerned with the weight of cell phones, it's feather-light compared to those old metal phones.

    Oh, as kids in school, we were taught the proper way to answer the phone. Being that they were party lines, we were REQUIRED to answer the phone by saying 'Jones residence' or whatever your family name was.

    And, at any time you could reach an operator by clicking the hang-up buttons several times. The operator could even be reached if the other people on the party line were using the phone. You could ask the operator to tell the gabby party to hang up so you could make a call. And, sometimes the operator would eavesdrop on your conversations, so it was prohibited by law to use profanity on a call. If you did, the operator could report you.

    I just thought you might be interested in sharing a little peek back at history...
    Six of my fids are now 2 years old - Sweetie, Tubbie, Misty, Kahnee, Rosie and Riley are all grown up!!

    Gabby Renee and Chauncey will celebrate their 2nd birthdays in March!

  2. #2
    Hit with Tailfever maxollie's Avatar
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    Re: Using telephones in the 1950's

    Well, Pat, you sure brought back some memories about our telephones way back then! My Mom was a telephone operator for awhile when my Dad died, when I was a young child of nine, and I remember going to the telephone office once in awhile to sit by her and watch her run the switchboard. My son and his family were here today, and we were laughing about the fact that "grandma" (me) is just now finally deciding that "texting" isn't too bad of an idea. Ever since cell phones became popular in the mid 90's, I would carry one but only for emergencies, and never would talk on it. Now with the new, small, sleek cells, and the ability to text, I finally decided I'd better "get with the program" and learn the texting. I told them today, now wherever I might be, the cell phone is either in my pocket or purse, or here by my recliner on my coffe table, waiting for that "music" to play!!

    I too remember all about picking up the phone and hearing others talking. Sometimes people would listen to other conversations and they were called "rubber necks"!!

    The new generation sure missed what we thought was pretty modern, back then!! And now, technology has taken us farther than I could ever have imagined when I was about 15 years old! Amazing!! Thank GOD all of that technology has moved us forward to the 21st Century. I'd sure be LOST without my Tailfeathers Community and all of my friends here!!

  3. #3
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    Re: Using telephones in the 1950's

    Speaking of cellphones, Ellen, I remember when I had worked in a Porsche dealership in 1990 a man came in with a cell phone. HAHAHA!! He carried this huge box on his belt. It had nearly a full-size receiver on it. I said to the guy, 'boy, you must have a very, very long wire on that phone!'

    And, recently I found this photo of Danny Glover using an early cell phone from 1987 in the movie Lethal Weapon:



    How times change
    Six of my fids are now 2 years old - Sweetie, Tubbie, Misty, Kahnee, Rosie and Riley are all grown up!!

    Gabby Renee and Chauncey will celebrate their 2nd birthdays in March!

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    Re: Using telephones in the 1950's

    Moving things forward a bit, I can remember what a hot shot you were considered if you had a pager. & thinking back on it now, how simplistic pagers were. I mean, you got paged, & then it was this big deal until you could find a phone somewhere convenient to use. & the pager phase lasted such a relatively short period of time! I like technology & all, but the speed at which it changes intimidates me! I'm gonna be totally lost by the time I'm an old lady!!
    "Be like the bird that, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, & yet sings, knowing that she hath wings." Victor Hugo

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    Re: Using telephones in the 1950's

    Yeah, Jenny, it is amazing how fast things are changing.
    I remember when I was a kid in parochial school. I went to the drugstore (that's where we bought our school supplies) and saw the first Bic ballpoint pens. Oh how cool it would have been to use that kind of pen! But the nuns wouldn't let us use anything but fountain pens. We were forbidden from using ballpoint pens until 3 years later.

    So, we still had to buy the old ink bottles and fill our pens with ink or dip the points in the inkwell.
    Six of my fids are now 2 years old - Sweetie, Tubbie, Misty, Kahnee, Rosie and Riley are all grown up!!

    Gabby Renee and Chauncey will celebrate their 2nd birthdays in March!

  6. #6
    Brand New Egg Jenny P's Avatar
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    Re: Using telephones in the 1950's

    & it's been long enough now that fountain pens are what's considered cool!! I always wondered how in the world you kept from smudging the ink all over your page or hands w/a fountain pen?
    "Be like the bird that, pausing in her flight awhile on boughs too slight, feels them give way beneath her, & yet sings, knowing that she hath wings." Victor Hugo

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    Re: Using telephones in the 1950's

    Wow Pat!! My Mom used tell me stories of the party line. She said it annoyed her and she remembered when she was ready to delivery my oldest brother, the operator wasn't very friendly with her when she told her that she needed the line to get in touch with her obstetrician. The operator told my mother "Heard that one before".. Now if you see a rotary phone, manual typewriter, and carbon paper, I think to myself, "Yea, I actually used those". But one thing I do remember as a young child was the Fuller Brush man (my mom used to have one that visited our home at least once a month) and the milk man. I remember my brothers helping me getting through the milk chute on the side of the house so we can get back inside. My nephews and nieces look at us and ask what a milk chute is??
    Tango / White Faced Pied Male: Hatched on October 09, 2011 - Homed on April 28, 2012.

    Tiels:
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    Caesar / Normal Gray Male: 1977 - 1994
    Piper / Lutino Hen: 1994 - 2010
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    Re: Using telephones in the 1950's

    You bring back lots of memories to me. Yes, we had a milk man come around every few days. Remember when we had to shake the milk to mix the cream before we poured the milk? The cream used to be at the top of the bottle and the rest of the milk was so thin like water. We lived near a dairy farm which eventually was taken over by a big company. Remember the little cardboard tops on the milk, with the little pull tab? Now they seal everything up tight so no tampering. Nobody tampered with stuff in those days.

    We also had the dry cleaner's truck pull up to our door every week. And, his shop was next to the barber shop where I took my little brother to get a haircut every 2 weeks. A haircut cost 25 cents.

    We paid 25 cents for school lunch and 15 cents to go to the movies. A big loaf of bread was 15 cents. Hamburger was 10 cents a pound.
    Six of my fids are now 2 years old - Sweetie, Tubbie, Misty, Kahnee, Rosie and Riley are all grown up!!

    Gabby Renee and Chauncey will celebrate their 2nd birthdays in March!

  9. #9
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    Re: Using telephones in the 1950's

    Well, you guys are taking me down "memory lane" on this beautiful day in Illinois, where we finally have the most heavenly weather you could imagine. It's 70, a light breeze, and sunny!!

    I remember the first cell phone I had in 1995. It also was quite long, about 10 inches, and did look quite modern, but I was always having to charge it, and I really wasn't very sure when I was traveling in my car if it was 100% reliable. Now my son and granddaughters have got me into this "texting" frenzy, and I truly never thought I'd be like 99% of the people I see out shopping, with their little "candy bar/small cell phones", either texting away in the store, or some literally are chatting on their phone as though they were sitting at home in their recliner! I've learned the texting well, but I use up minutes soo fast, and somehow, it is just distracting to me. Of course the young adults and school kids have their cell phone "bolted" to their "bod", one place or another, if you know what I mean!

    When I was a child, I grew up on a farm, so the only "milk man" I ever knew, was my most favorite person in the whole wide world, then and now, and that was my Dad, who milked the cows every day, fed the pigs, and took care of the "bull", who by the way could get pretty feisty on occasion. My Mom made homemade butter, and homemade cream. She also made homemade ice cream with homemade chocolate syrup!! (yum yum)!! The cream was "glorious" on the top of a fresh baked sponge cake, right out of the oven, with a few fresh strawberries or blueberries on top!! And my Dad also butchered cows and pigs, so we always had fresh meat to eat. My mom had her own role in the farm operation. She raised chickens, ducks, and geese. The fresh eggs and freshly dressed chickens had the best taste ever. And each Xmas we had roast goose because being full blooded Swedish, that was a tradition in our family. My Mom also delivered fresh eggs and cream to town to a few customers, and in the late fall she would kill and dress many chickens, ducks and geese to sell to folks in town for their holiday celebrations.

    Even though my parent's generation did not have all of the "materialistic and modern things" we have these days, I truly believe in my heart they were a happier people back then because they were always grateful and thankful for what they had, worked very hard to get it, and shared it with others. I was taught at a very early age, to be good to others, to share what you have with others if they are in need, and to give thanks each day for every blessing that is bestowed upon you. And fast forward almost 70 years, and I still feel that way about life. We are our very own biology, and our parents and sometimes grandparents, give us the values in life that we carry with us until we leave this world for heaven.

    It has been so much fun for me to take this little trip down memory lane today. Thanks to all for sharing your stories too!

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    Re: Using telephones in the 1950's

    Remember early television? Old black and white, and much of the time the picture was 'snowy' with static. I remember my dad taking us to visit some family friends who had a big color tv. I was amazed. It was such a big deal, so rare to have color tv. But the picture was awful - not only snowy but really hard to see. But they loved their color tv.

    My uncle had accidentally broken our old black and white console tv so my aunt bought us a new one. It was HUGE! A whole 25" on the diagonal black and white tv! And it was EXPENSIVE! Cost a whole $300.00. She was so nice.

    I remember when they started selling color tv's that had 'clear, sharp' pictures. Wow, what a breakthrough!
    Six of my fids are now 2 years old - Sweetie, Tubbie, Misty, Kahnee, Rosie and Riley are all grown up!!

    Gabby Renee and Chauncey will celebrate their 2nd birthdays in March!

  11. #11
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    Re: Using telephones in the 1950's

    Oh, Pat, I really enjoyed reading about the televisions back in the 50's. I was 11 years old when we first got a little 18 inch black and white TV. My mom and step father would be at the little grocery store they ran each day when I got home from school. I was in 6th grade at the time, and ironically, that was the first time in my life I had a new little buddy . . . . that being my handsome little green budgie! He was hand-raised and socialized when I got him. My mom decided it would be company for me when I came home from school while she and my step father were still working. (evidently leaving minor children "home alone" back then was no big deal)!! So I sure had "fun" when I got home from school. Never mind the homework I brought home, I always figured I'd get it done later in the evening, so I would get a snack from the kitchen, with my little Mickey the budgie sitting on my left shoulder or on the top of my head, and we would head for the livingroom and the TV! At that time the Little Rascals, Mickey Mouse Club (Annette Funicello), and I Love Lucy were after school TV programs. And also "Name that Tune", and "The Top 10 popular Songs" (remember "Green Door"), were part of the after school entertainment for my little bird and me. Like all birds, he was very intelligent and learned to talk early on. His favorites were "Pretty Boy" and "Birdy want some beer"!! So, I really thought I was pretty lucky to think we finally had a TV, and I was having quite a fun time after school, UNTIL, the first report card I brought home from school, and since my grades had gotten a bit lower than usual, the "rules" changed as to the time I could spend watching TV after school!

    My parents also had friends who had a 25 inch color TV. The husband was a TV repairman and salesman, so most likely he could get TV's to sell at wholesale and then re-sell them for BIG bucks! And back then a good quality color TV (25) inch was most probably about $700 - $1000. We would visit on a Saturday night and I would sit in awe, wondering when we would ever get a color TV. Well, fast forward MANY years before we had one. In fact, my son was about 5 years old when we first got a 19 inch color! And fast forward about 40 years, and here we are in the 21st Century with technology that ceases to amaze me. HD TV's are marvelous and last for 10-15 years.

  12. #12
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    Re: Using telephones in the 1950's

    Oh, I love that story! I sure can relate. Mickey sounds like he was a little darling! 'Birdy want some beer' cracks me up! My little parakeet used to say the s word and laugh every time. I didn't say it, but I think it was just a mispronunciation (I hope), or my mother taught him .

    Yes I remember the song 'Green Door'. And it reminded me of the first tv game shows, like Treasure Hunt with Jan Murray, and Feather Your Nest. Remember Art Linkletter's shows 'Kids Say the Darndest Things' and his regular show? And cartoons like Tom Terrific (with Mighty Manfred his wonder dog). Tom used to exclaim 'Holyoke Massachusetts!!' and that's where I was born and raised .
    Six of my fids are now 2 years old - Sweetie, Tubbie, Misty, Kahnee, Rosie and Riley are all grown up!!

    Gabby Renee and Chauncey will celebrate their 2nd birthdays in March!

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