So how did phones work in the old days?

Back in the dark ages of the 1970’s there was no such thing as a cell phone.  There was no such thing as a wireless phone, either.  In fact, there was no such thing as more than one phone company.  Almost everywhere there was only AT&T, and the phones in your house belonged to them, not to you!  That being said, in Connecticut our one phone company was the Southern New England Telephone Company instead, fondly known as S-N-E-T.  The reason I bring this up is that because of this arrangement college students couldn’t afford phones.  So in every dorm there was a pay phone down in the lobby.  If you  wanted to call someone you would call that phone and if someone happened to be walking by, they would answer it.  You told them who you wanted to talk to and there was a PA system that they would use to page the person you wanted to speak to.  Then that person would run downstairs and get on the phone.

Anyway, back to my story to see why this is relevant.  After the radio show was over (see previous post), I decide to take a shower.  In those days a dormitory was just that, a bunch of double rooms with a communal bathroom and shower on each floor, not like the “suites” they have today.  So I gather up my soap, shampoo, towel, etc., get in my robe, and proceed across the hall to the bathroom.  I finish my shower and come out into the hallway, and I hear my name on the loudspeaker.  I have a call on Sunday morning!  So I run down the stairs in my bathrobe and get the phone.  It’s my buddy Charlie from off campus.  He got a call from my girlfriend asking him if he would pick me up and the both of us could go to Brookfield for their weekly Gospel meeting that night.  Charlie was up for this since it actually gave him an excuse to drop me off and then go home so he could see his girlfriend.

I am speechless.  She had never asked me to attend any of their church meetings in the five months I had known her, even though we talked about them often.  Now here I am having been shocked by a pinball / eternal life story on the radio, and now getting an invitation to hear more about it (eternal life, not pinball).  I absolutely want to go, so I tell him to come and get me.  I am also amazed by two things. One, someone was walking by the phone in the lobby on Sunday morning and bothered to answer it.  Two, I was in the hallway for about 15 seconds, enough time to walk across the hall and unlock my door.  In that 15 second window I was paged because I have a call.  If I had still been in the shower, I wouldn’t have heard it.  If I had returned to my room I may not have heard it since it isn’t that loud and wouldn’t have been listening for it.  It was perfectly timed.  “What a coincidence!” I think.  “First I turn on the radio at just the right time to hear the pinball story, and now I’m in the hallway to get a phone call.  Huh!  It is certainly starting out as a very interesting day.”

I had no idea where this day was going to end up.

[Part 1 is here.]

2 thoughts on “So how did phones work in the old days?

  1. I am so pleased you are sharing your story. I don’t believe we ever discussed nor have I heard. As you know, there are no coincidences, only the Lord’s hand. Love you and love hearing your testimony. Annie


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