Party Line

Who remembers party lines? You know, everybody in the area on one line, each address with a different ring so you can tell which calls are yours? Everybody knows which ring belongs to who, and everybody only picks up on their ring, right? NOT. People worry about privacy with their devices today, but even with old school technology, there were privacy issues. We all have a built in curious side, so it is safe to say that if you received a call, it would be listened too. You had to be careful what was said on the phone, or you may be feeding the gossip machine. Entertainment, courtesy of early 20th century technology.

Aunt Millie had a party line. It was fun to watch her when the phone rang. She liked to listen into a call or two now and then, just to see what was going on for the other folks. She had the scoop on pretty much everybody in the area. They all “had her number” as well.

The party line did serve them well though. One summer while Dad was staying on the farm, a fire broke out in the barn. A call for help was put out, and when a phone rings late at night (it still brings a chill when this happens), everybody picks up to listen. All the neighbors showed up to help with the fire. Unfortunately, they were not able to save the barn, but imagine what could have happened had they not be able to contain the fire in the barn.

2 thoughts on “Party Line

  1. Kim December 20, 2022 / 3:42 pm

    I love telling the kids about the party line!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bob Fromm December 20, 2022 / 5:53 pm

    I would love to see their reactions to such antiquated technology.


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