Back in the day – and I mean way back, when phones didn’t even have a dial, and you just picked up the phone and got an operator… I was , I think, in fourth grade when part of the homework assignment was to find out what rivers converged in Pittsburg to form the Ohio River. I picked up the phone and said, “Information, please.” When I was connected with the information operator I asked my question. She laughed and told me she didn’t give that kind of information. Surprised and disappointed, I think I called my Uncle Sam to get the answer and have never forgotten the Allegheny and the Monongahela .
That’s probably why they changed the name to ” Directory Assistance.” But I co-opted that for personal reasons as well. When I was living in Waukesha, Wisconsin in the mid-60’s, long distance calling was very expensive, so although I was terribly homesick for Medford and Boston, I didn’t call friends. However there was no charge for Directory Assistance, and the operator would give street address as well as town, and, if you were lucky might even chat a bit. So I would dial 411, be asked, “What city, please” get the Boston operator and ask for things where I knew she would have to say words like ” Park Street,” and “Jordan Marsh” just so I could hear the accent.
Nowadays I rely on Google and white pages.com, but I think the old ways were more fun.
© Dorothy C. Judd
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