Our Telephone (Lower left) 1961
At first our phone number was CH(erry) 1948. The telephone company was called Pacific
Northwest Bell Telephone company and was part of the national conglomerate
called AT and T. Many years later, they changed our tele. no. to CH(erry) 3 -1948. All phone numbers started with
letters that stood for words then, and there were NO area codes at all. If you
wanted to make a long distance call you just called the Operator by dialing "0"
(zero). She would answer and say "Operator" or "Long Distance, for what city
and then she had
to connect you. You called the operator for emergencies too. For "Information"
you dialed 411.
later, my first official JOB was as an Operator. The switchboard was the old
fashioned peg-board style! I worked in California at Pacific Telephone as the
ONLY operator for about 100,000 people.
Sharon in Concord, CA "Telephone Operator"
I handled Long Distance, Repair calls,
Information and emergency calls. Once I even placed a call for President Lyndon
B. Johnson, and a person to person call to the actor Danny Thomas. I have MANY
stories about that time of my life.)
The Kolstad House is across the street.|
Shirley is in Back,then Left to Right: |
Eileen, Jeanie, Judie and a friend (Paula?)
When we lived at 641 SW 124th St, we had some neighbors across the street by the name of
name was Ena, but I don't remember her husband's name for sure. I think it was
Ben. Anyway, they had three children. the oldest one was Kristine, then there
was Kathy, and Karlie was the baby. We often played at their house, because
they had a tire swing that swung way out over the bank to the left of their driveway in
(in those trees to the left of their house in the picture above.) The bank dropped off very sharply,
because the neighbor house was actually below street level! It was such a thrill to swing out so high.
They were very poor and didn't even have a telephone.
One day, Mrs.
Kolstad needed to make a call, so she came over to our house to borrow our
phone. Kristine came with her and they knocked on our door. When the door was
opened, Kristine blurted out:
"My Mom wants to know if we can use your phone
'cuz we ain't got no phone."
Mrs. Kolstad, (knowing how important proper English was to our
parents), immediately reprimanded her:
"Kristine", she said "Don't say 'ain't',
say: 'We DON'T got no phone!'"
I don't think we laughed in front of them, but we sure got a
good laugh after they left. And that story has been told OVER and OVER in our
Another time our early age English teachings became very
apparent was the first time I ever had a boy over to our house for dinner. I
was 17 years old and my boyfriend (Terry Bramblet) lived in Tacoma. I had met
him at Camp Glendawn. He was visiting with a friend of his (Billy Buckley) who
lived in West Seattle and planning to spend the night. I asked Mother and Daddy
if we could invite them both for dinner and they agreed. With such a big family
plus company, Mother arranged to have my friends sit at the main table with the
adults and she set a smaller table for the younger kids. I don't remember how
many of the younger ones were at the other table but I know that Jimmy was one
At some point early into the meal, Daddy was trying to make
conversation with my guests. Daddy asked Terry, "How did you boys get over
Terry answered, "Mr. Buckley took us here."
Little 5 year old Jimmy, sitting across the room at the OTHER
table hollered out: "BROUGHT!"
I guess he learned his English lessons well! He had some lessons
still to learn about politeness, but I'm sure Daddy was secretly proud of
This story is only a LITTLE bit about the telephone. Mother was pregnant
five different times in my recollection, and even though I do not have
a lot of SPECIFIC memories regarding her pregnancies I do remember the "name"
Each time our parents were expecting a baby, beginning with SHIRLEY,
they chose a boy's name: JIMMY DONALD
and they also chose a girl's name: (Well Five times they used the girl's name, and you
all know Who WE are, so I won't list them here)
In 1957 while Mother was pregnant they chose their names again:
Boy: JIMMY DONALD
Girl: PATRICIA ELLEN
In those days there was NO WAY to tell whether an unborn child was a boy or a girl.
So everybody waited with great anticipation of the new arrival.
Finally, Daddy took Mother to the hospital. He waited and waited and the baby still didn't come.
He finally had to go home to care for the rest of us. Shirley was 14, and I was 11.
At that time we had a bed in a corner of the living room where I slept. My own little corner!
It was about 4 O'clock in the morning and the TELEPHONE rang.
Daddy rushed to answer it and Shirley and I were both right there waiting for the news!
"IT'S A BOY!"
Daddy shouted and jumped straight up in the air and kicked his heels together!
I have NEVER seen Daddy do that before or since! I also never got to meet PATRICIA ELLEN, because
Mother and Daddy never had another girl.
I remember more stories about the telephone that were also pretty funny.
One time, we were all gathered around the table in preparation for our dinner.
We had just finished our devotions, and Daddy was saying the blessing.
Apparently, our parents were expecting an important telephone call.
As he was praying, the phone began to ring.
Naturally, no one was supposed to answer the phone during prayer,
but Mother must have really been nervous about missing the phone call they were
expecting, because the INSTANT Daddy finished with the blessing,
she picked up the telephone and said,
"In Jesus name, AMEN. ....I mean, Hello".
We all roared with laughter!
Another fun telephone story was when Mother answered the phone,
and the caller asked for Bertha.
Mother said, "This is she." The caller said "Hello Bertha, this is Mary."
Mother and Mary spoke for a few minutes of chit-chat before Mother finally realized
that it wasn't AUNT MARY like she thought.
She and a TOTAL STRANGER were talking with each other! That was pretty funny!