« The Geezer Files

Call Girls

by Terry Veldhouse

Now dont let your brain head down the obvious path.

There is an elite cadre of females here at WC that spent a good part of their youth bringing the gift of communication to their fellow Americans. These lucky girls worked for the local phone company back when there was a local phone company.

Just two hours ago they were sitting in the lobby, some waiting to get their hair done, some for the mail, reminiscing about party lines and plug in consoles. This got me thinking. How far back do these call girls go, because obviously they are not getting calls now. And if we have six of them here out of 40 ladies, does that mean that about 15% of the women worked for the phone company? Wow, thats a lot of call girls. Us Geezers dont remember having that much fun!

So lets work back from here. Today, we dont have many people under the age of forty with a phone hanging on their wall, but back in the 90s, just about everyone had the Touch Tone to beat on. It actually came into use in 1963, but it was a long time before everyone got switched over from the hated rotary dialer, which was a serious upgrade from the operator. Imagine if todays youth had to wait about a second for a single digit to be sent. No one would survive as fascinated teenagers obsessed over those far out sights and sounds while driving down busy roadways. But I digress. We started with Call Girls.

Before the Smart Phone, the Cell Phone, the Touch Tone and the Rotary Phone, there were the telephone operators. Now this Geezer never communicated through a Ma Bell operator, since I had the good sense to grow up in a town. But my grandparents lived on a farm in Iowa, and they were still talking to the operator in the 50s and early 60s. They even had one of those mysterious phones that you cranked to get other peoples attention somehow, and maybe warn others that you were going to talk. When they moved to town and got a rotary phone, they took the old phone along and put it up on a post in the basement, not far from the Dr. Pepper case. It was hard to resist both, so I didnt resist. The cousins and I discovered some really cool magnets inside the phone, and a funky taste that came out your nose. Ah, the good old days.

So how many Call Girls were there? A lot. For example, in 1919, 9,000 operators went on strike in New England, shutting down the communications until they got a raise. So lets just speculate and extrapolate. 15% of our WC women were operators. In 1950, the population of the USA was 150 million, 75 million being female. Take that times 15%, you get 11 million. Seems about right. Oh, did I tell you that I was an operator.....

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