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Whatever Happened to the Telephone Booth

You remember them, don’t you? There was always one within steps of wherever you happened to be. You had to call home and tell Mom and Dad you were going to be a little late because…because..well, whatever excuse you cold come up with.

The telephone booth.

Every small town had at least one somewhere close by the gas station or the cafe or the little grocery store. Every big town had several scattered around. And every city seemed to have one of every street corner.

The telephone booth.

You’d open the split glass door, slide it shut and drop in that dime. The coin would make it’s way through the mechanism in the phone, and would almost sound like a song as it went.

If you didn’t know the number of the place you were calling, there was a phone book hanging right there on a chain by the phone. Of course, the public phone booth wasn’t your exclusive property, so the phone book would be a little, uh, battered. Pages missing or torn, random numbers scribbled on various pages, stains here and there…but you could usually find the number you needed.

Then you would have your conversation and perhaps someone would be standing outside the glass, furtively glancing at his or her watch, waiting to use the magical booth next. And if your all-important conversation went a little longer than you thought, well…

“40 cents for the next 3 minutes, please”.

For you younger folks, that voice was what they called an “operator”. A beautiful voice and no doubt a lovely lady, but she was always asking for “more money for the next 3 minutes, please”. It seemed she never had enough money.

You don’t see phone booths much anymore, if at all. I do notice a pay phone once in a while (corner of 12th and west in Sioux Falls for one), but no booth. Technology has placed them in the junkyard of memories, right there next to the 8-track players and the console TV. I’m not sure you can even get the door to slide open anymore.

But there was a day. Can you hear the coins slipping down into the phone? Pretty isn’t it.

Remembering The Small Town Grocery Store

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