Information, Please

Information, Please

When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember well the polished old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it. Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person — her name was “Information, Please” and there was nothing she did not know. “Information, Please” could supply anybody’s number and the correct time. My first personal experience with this genie-in the-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I hacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was terrible, but there didn’t seem to be any reason in crying because there was no one home to give sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. “Information, Please,” I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into my

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