"This is just some information to
share to those who are younger than I am, and for those who
remember these things, maybe a chuckle or two." - Jerry
MEMOIRS OF A TELEPHONE
Going back in time, some 36 years ago, I’d like
to reflect on one of the main aspects of a telephone man’s duties.
This is been called Public Relations for many years, but to us
back then it was common courtesy. Serving the Public, has taught
us old timers from day one to be courteous, but may not be so
I have worked for the public since
I was 5 years old, pumping gas and washing windshields and
checking radiator and oil levels at my dad’s service station.
After his death, I was 12 years old, I went to work at a local
grocery store bagging groceries and doing electrical work after
school and on weekends. This upbringing helped me later deal with
Subscribers during my working career.
In the mid
70s, I worked for a rural telephone cooperative in West Texas. I
had an area of 100 miles by 120 miles that included 3 central
offices. Each day I drove a minimum of 250 miles, and most days
over 300. In those days, we had 8 party lines, and thousands of
miles of “open wire”. All telephone men at the time dreaded fall
because that was the time that farmers stripped their cotton and
inadvertently ripped down miles of wire in the process. During
most days back then I climbed 50 to 60 poles per day when the
stripping season was going on.
Trouble tickets were somewhat
different also. They varied from “pets chewing through cords” to
“Grandma Smith stays on the phone all the time”. This is where the
public relations thing came in. In those days, we had to make
trips to speak to customers/subscribers about their telephone
habits, and try to keep peace among “party line” groups. Also in
those days, the Telephone Company provided or “leased” the phones
to subscribers, and we hard-wired them in. When you turned your
black telephone over, you would see “Stromberg Carlson” or
“Western Electric” most likely. But when the colored phones came
out, we were busy color coordinating and changing out hundreds of
Back then, if we went to a house and no one
was home, we just walked in. There were no questions asked, and
usually we would leave a note saying we had repaired the problem.
To my knowledge, no customers ever complained about this, and back
then no doors were locked. If we didn’t do this, we would likely
catch heck for not repairing their phone. Of course, all our
customers knew us by name!
Times have changed
much in 40 years. Businesses today think less and less of serving
the public. Truly, we all must treat our customers like they are
special to us, for without them we would not be. I am delighted to
say that Table Top Telephone Company has not thrown common
courtesy out the window. Our employees continue to be committed to
providing you with reliable communications services.