Tag Archives: telephone

She Was There for the Last Operator Dialed Phone Call


When we signed up for internet for the dream house, we were informed that we’d also have to have a land line. How quaint, right? Mind you, we haven’t have a land line in almost seven years. If we’re going to have telephone service in the house, we may as well have some fun phones! We already have a vintage rotary phone but, of course, we’ll need more modern touch tone phones as well.

We came across this Michael Graves-designed phone in the same thrift store where we found our glassware. (Only $2!) As I helped an older patron carry her purchases out to her car, Mr. Blandings had this conversation with the cashier.

“Oh! What a fun phone!” she said.

“Yeah, I couldn’t resist,” Mr. Blandings said. “It’s so fun.”

“You know, I use to be the one who said “number please,” she said as she looked at the phone.

Mr. Blandings asked, “Oh, so did you work for the phone company?”

“Yes,” she proudly said, “for $1.50 an hour — and that was big money back in 1967 — people would pick up their phones and say, “Give me such and such number” and I would connect them. Sometimes I would tease people, because I knew who it was, and when they’d ask if it was me I’d say, “Oh, I’m sorry, I can only give out my operator number!””

“So,” Mr. Blandings asked, “did you continue working for the phone company after they started direct dial calls?”

“Well, no! Once everyone could dial directly, there was no need for us anymore!”

We’ll think of you every time we place a direct dialed call, thrift store lady.

— Mr. and Mr. Blandings

Image: Mr. and Mr. Blandings