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Author Topic: The Black Telephone  (Read 3164 times)

dennis

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on: April 01, 2013, 12:07:36 PM
This was in an email I received today. Don't underestimate your influence over others:[/b]

The Black Telephone
 
 When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood.
 I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the
 side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination
 when my mother talked to it.
   
 Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person.
 Her name was "Information Please" and there was nothing she did not know. Information
 Please could supply anyone's number and the correct time.
 
 My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was
 visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my
 finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point in crying
 because there was no one home to give sympathy.
 
 I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway.
 The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing.
  Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear.
 
 "Information, please" I said into the mouthpiece just above my head.
   
 A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my ear.   
 "Information."
 
 "I hurt my finger..." I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that
 I had an audience.
   
 "Isn't your mother home?" came the question.
   
 "Nobody's home but me," I blubbered.
   
 "Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.
   
 "No,"I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts."
   
 "Can you open the icebox?" she asked.
   
 I said I could.
   
 "Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice..
 
 After that, I called "Information Please" for everything. I asked her for help with my geography,
 and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math.
 
 She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit
 and nuts.
 
 Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called,  Information Please," and told her
 the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not
 consoled. I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families,
 only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?"
   
 She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, "Wayne , always remember that
 there are other worlds to sing in."
   
 Somehow I felt better.
   
 Another day I was on the telephone, "Information Please."
   
 "Information," said in the now familiar voice. "How do I spell fix?" I asked.
   
 All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest . When I was nine years old, we moved
 across the country to Boston . I missed my friend very much.
 
 "Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought
 of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the
 memories of those childhood conversations never really left me..
   
 Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then.
 I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little
 boy.
   
 A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour
 or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now.
 Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information
 Please."
   
 Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.
   
 "Information."
   
 I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying,
   
 "Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"
   
 There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed
 by now."
   
 I laughed, "So it's really you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me
 during that time?"
   
 "I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your call meant to me."
   
 "I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls."
   
 I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I
 came back to visit my sister.
   
 "Please do," she said. "Just ask for Sally."
   
 Three months later I was back in Seattle.
   A different voice answered,
   
 "Information."
 I asked for Sally.
   
 "Are you a friend?" she said.
   
 "Yes, a very old friend," I answered.
   
 "I'm sorry to have to tell you this,"She said. "Sally had been working part time the last few years
 because she was sick. She died five weeks ago."
   
 Before I could hang up, she said,
   
 "Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne ?"
   
 "Yes." I answered.
   
 Well, Sally left a message for you.
   
 She wrote it down in case you called.
   
 "Let me read it to you."
   
 The note said,
   
 "Tell him there are other worlds to sing in.
   
 He'll know what I mean."
   
 I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.
   
 Never underestimate the impression you may make on others..
   
 Whose life have you touched today?
   
 Why not pass this on? I just did....
   
 Lifting you on eagle's wings.
   
 May you find the joy and peace you long for.
   
 Life is a journey... NOT a guided tour.
   
 I loved this story and just had to pass it on. 
   
 I hope you find it lovable too.
 
 Cheers,

 Natalie ~ Mind Movies  [/font]
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 04:00:38 PM by dennis »
You are what you THINK about - Napoleon Hill


Germa

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Reply #1 on: April 01, 2013, 12:56:10 PM
A lovable story indeed.  :thankyou:


Zach

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Reply #2 on: April 01, 2013, 01:22:34 PM
Nice
My God's not dead.

Find my art on facebook!! 
https://m.facebook.com/TheArtOfZachDames/


ohio1959

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Reply #3 on: April 04, 2013, 05:19:58 AM
I loved the story Dennis and I enjoy reading your posts of inspiration. They just make you stop in your tracks and think. If only we had a lot more Sally's in the world today. Thanks for sharing. Also, Thanks to You and Nolan for starting this site. The compassion and caring to help others with your knowledge and wisdom will touch many lives.
" Have a Blessed Day "


Denise808

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Reply #4 on: April 04, 2013, 09:17:23 AM
Thank you for sharing this Dennis :)  It's a treasure... :angel:
"Purple alone is pretty, but place mint green alongside and the purple becomes glorious. Sometimes we need to be a green in a purple person's life." ~Carolyn Blish


polliwag

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Reply #5 on: April 04, 2013, 09:31:55 AM
Brought tears of joy!  Thanks
 
Dianne

"If you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change."
               Wayne Dyer


Lillian

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Reply #6 on: April 04, 2013, 11:39:45 AM
Dennis, how true!  That's a sad, heartwarming, thought provoking story. 
We never know how much influence we have on others.  Thanks for reminding us. 
You always encourage us to be the best that we can be. :thankyou:
Lots of nostalgia as I visit the forum today.   :)   I remember a phone like that on the wall of our old farmhouse.  We had a party line and the rings of our neighbours would come in.  Our ring was a long ring, then a short ring but never would we pick up the phone for any other kind of ring.  Sometimes when we picked up the receiver to make a call, we would hear a neighbour talking and we would hang up.  ...could have been  :nosey: and listened to the gossip.   :2funny:
My big (well, older) sister worked for Bell Canada in Toronto.  She was a 'telephone operator' and she would be the one to say "Information please."  or "Number please." I always felt so proud of her whenever she called and talked to us from the big city and I looked up to her because of her position at Bell.
...so many changes in my lifetime! 
The telephone system may not be so personal, but we do have a warm friendly family on the Paintbasket forum.   :smitten:
 
"The way to be happy," said Winston Churchill, "is to find something that requires the kind of perfection that's impossible to achieve and spend the rest of your life trying to achieve it."


dennis

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Reply #7 on: April 04, 2013, 04:49:51 PM
Yep, the old farm telephones used to have a crank handle on the side to make the different rings - can still hear them in my mind. Sometimes when talking you can hear a receiver being picked up along the line and if you did not hear another click shortly afterwards then you knew that someone was listening-in. I would respond with, "Hier is iemand met lang ore op die lyn." (There is someone with long ears on the line) You quickly hear the next click as the receiver is put down. :2funny: :2funny: :2funny:
You are what you THINK about - Napoleon Hill


SunRai

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Reply #8 on: April 04, 2013, 10:04:09 PM
Thank-you Dennis for the wonderful story, and the memories it brought back of the "olden days" as my son-in-law thinks I lived in!  We, too, had a party line, and never would have thought to listen in!  We would quickly hang up if we pick up to make a call and someone else was on it!  A very few tiimes we had to nicely ask one of our long-winded party-liners to make it short because we had an important call to make.
 
Lillian - yes, people did look up to the telephone operators!  My grandpa always told me that I could be a telephone operator, as if that was really something!  His son (my dad) was a well-known physicist and electcical engineer, so he did know about higher education, for boys!  But, for me, a girl, he thought being a telephone operator was a noble profession!!  Even then I knew I wanted to be an engineer, so he was probably a bit disappointed in me!!
 
I had a child in my life for a short time - a neighbor who had a very trouble home life.  She ran away at age 10, and then asked the police to bring her to me.  I let her spend her days at my home, bake cookies, play with my babies, and basically gave her a safe place to be during the day.  At night she had to return to her horrible home life, but she had a safe haven to run to when things got too bad.  We only lived there for a couple of years, and I sadly lost touch with her.  20 years later she found me, after numerous moves, a name change, etc!  She had finally escaped her horrible past, had completed college, got married, and had a young son, named after my husband.  She said she always remembered my happy home, and wanted that for herself.  I was so touched to think that my short interaction with her might have saved her life, or at least helped her escape her past and envision a great future for herself and her family!  So, I always think that whatever small thing I can do to help a young person just may make a difference, even if I never hear from them again!!  This experience was such a blessing to me, probably as much as to her, because it has kept me being aware that our small actions can make such a difference!
 
Dennis - I so appreciate your teaching, and then adding in this kind of inspiration in the icing on the cake!!  It helps me to remember how I want to live, what blessings I've recieved, and to be grateful for all I have.
 
Blessings to you!
-Pat

"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."  Erich Fromm


Denise808

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Reply #9 on: April 05, 2013, 09:12:03 AM
Pat, Dennis' "Black Telephone" story is so touching and here you are with your own personal "Black Telephone" story. It sure makes it hit home even more. Thank you for sharing.
 
"Purple alone is pretty, but place mint green alongside and the purple becomes glorious. Sometimes we need to be a green in a purple person's life." ~Carolyn Blish


polliwag

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Reply #10 on: April 05, 2013, 12:06:53 PM
Pat, I know in some way, you will be blessed for your kindness.
Dianne

"If you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change."
               Wayne Dyer


SunRai

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Reply #11 on: April 05, 2013, 08:27:57 PM
The amazing thing about my story is that we lived in California at the time, but I had moved to many differnt states and eventually to Washington, and she had also moved - to Georgia.  This was pre-Facebook days, so she had gone to a lot of effort to find me.  I had always wondered what happened to her!  When she called 20 years later, a grown woman with a SOUTHERN accent, it was late at night.  This voice said "is this Pat?", and I KNEW it was her - I don't know how, but I did.  She didn't think I'd remember her, and was surprised when I said "yes - is this Tina?"!  She asked how did I know, and I said I just "knew" and had often thought of her through the years.  We cried, and talked for several hours, and it is one of the most precious things that have happened to me.  I share this story because so often we do things to help someone, or are put in someones life for a very short time, and we usually never know how we impacted them.  And, that's fine, it's the norm.  But, this was such a blessing, and confirmation that our actions do make a difference!
-Pat

"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."  Erich Fromm


Happychappy

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Reply #12 on: April 11, 2013, 01:46:25 PM
Dennis and Pat, Heartwarming, lovely stories which restores our faith in mankind, knowing that there are still people out there who really care.  Thank you for relating them to us.  Patricia
Patricia
Blessed are those who give without remembering and blessed are those who receive without forgetting - anonymous


Lillian

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Reply #13 on: April 11, 2013, 06:11:05 PM
Ahhhhh Pat!  You're such a sweetie!   :1hug:
"The way to be happy," said Winston Churchill, "is to find something that requires the kind of perfection that's impossible to achieve and spend the rest of your life trying to achieve it."


SunRai

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Reply #14 on: April 11, 2013, 07:40:26 PM
Thanks - but I didn't tell the story for kudos!  I really wanted to tell the story to show that we really can make a difference even if we never do hear about how things work out. I really didn't do anything big, just be available for a young person!  That has always been my passion, helping kids.  And really, it's mostly just being available and LISTENING to them!  I've had several young women (and a few young men) come into my life through the years, and I just hope the small things I can do will make a difference in their lives.  This one confirmation lets me know what can happen, maybe not always, but sometimes! 
-Pat

"Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties."  Erich Fromm


 

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