I remember when having a telephone of any kind was a novelty. Compared to today, there’s no comparison. When I was around ten years old we got one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. We shared the line with the Davis family, one of whom would frequently pick up to listen in on our call. I was known to try that out myself from time to time.

Late one night that telephone rang . . . .

It was ten o’clock 1942 when the bell at 4881
rang and mother cried, It’s Jerry – go get Clara.
From the Brooklyn Navy Yard to Baton Rouge –
Would you like to say hello? I would! I would!

Hello uncle Jerry.
Hi Boy. How ya doing? Put your aunt Clara on.
I said, You sound so far away.
He said, I am.

I gave the heavy hand set to aunt Clara.
She said, We are all here.
She said, We all love you.
She said, Come back home.

For a long time she said nothing,
Then she said, I love you.
Then she said, Goodby.
She sat down on the couch.

We all looked at Clara. She said:
He couldn’t say so, but I know
he’s going to sea. I know
he’s going to sea.

Mother made some coffee.

It was an operator assisted long distance collect call. It seemed like a miracle to us. The only personal mobil phone we knew of was the one on the wrist of Dick Tracy. Of course, technology was on the the threshold of an explosion of progress. As far as I was concerned, I was, then and there, on the crest of that wave.

“These are the days of miracle and wonder – This is the long distance call” p. simon

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