Please Hold

Bill Averett

All images are from the 1961 Baylor University Round-Up.

Bobbie Sue Wilson

According to these pictures from over a half century ago, folks have always had a love affair with phones. All that was available at the time was the black, corded rotary kind, like the one we had in our dining room for years.

Larry Hodges

I still have nightmares, where I’m calling someone on a rotary phone, and I have to start over again, or the rotary won’t work right.

Darla Prudom

I remember waiting for hours for my friends’ numbers to stop giving me the busy signal, so that I could update them with the latest dish. Sometimes, I’d just give up altogether. There was no voice mail, and you had to get through to the line in order to leave a message on the answering machine.

Gerry Frederick

We couldn’t walk around the house, either, so we were tethered to the base. And the cords would inevitably get wonky in their coil. You remember janky, improperly-coiled cords? I guess that still happens to office phones.

Bruce Peterson Photo

By the way, did anyone ever clean their receivers? These days, I Lysol-Wipe our phones regularly. I guess those were the days before antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizer.

Mrs. Hardcastle

The university even had a Cotton Bowl float devoted entirely to the phone!

So don’t let anyone tell you we haven’t always loved our phones, even before they were smart!

9 thoughts on “Please Hold”

  1. You are so right. We love us some phones. I remember numbers with letters and party lines. Also those big old phone booths you used when you had to call that special someone as a kid.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Imagine you could not take those with you, you were able to go as far as the cable would allow and of course no screens, emails….seems to be so far in time, but not really I guess…:) and if you were far from a city you would share it with some other neighbourg…today it would probably be with hackers…:D

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! My Grandmother was a “Bell System Pioneer,” part of the Telephone Pioneers of America who were the original phone operators back in the days of plug-in switchboards. She spent her whole career (in itself a rarity in those days – a female with a career!) with Bell Telephone. She got free service for life as part of her retirement and, since she lived to 96, made the most of it. My Dad had what most believe was the last rotary phone on the island of Kauai. The telephone service would beg him to upgrade and offer free phones if only he would give it up because it was such a hassle to continue providing analog service after everything went digital. He, of course, refused being an ornery cuss and finally they gave him the ultimatum: switch or we come by and yank out the phone and line. He never really grasped the modern phone thing and until well in his 70s he recorded voice mail messages that started out, “Your call is being answered electronically” to which he got more than a few “No sh** Sherlock” messages left on the service. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your stories. I’m actually surprised that they honored the free service all the way up to her age of 96. I sure hope you’ve passed this information down to your kids. Do you have any photos just show them? That’s really cool.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When Nana started, rotary phones were still a relatively new thing. Until then, you picked up the receiver and the operator asked who you wanted to call and then connected the wires accordingly. You could not make a call without an operator, that’s why they were so revered in later times. Operators were a life or death matte. It’s almost impossible to explain to the very young. I think the kids have to be about teenagers before they can grasp the technological advances made in communications – heck, the touch tone phone wasn’t a thing until the 1980s! I probably have some photos somewhere but I’m not a diligent photo hunter like you.

        Liked by 1 person

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