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The Black Telephone

Monday, May 20, 2013

I loved this story and just had to pass it on. I hope you find it lovable too.

When I was a young boy, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember 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 anyone's number and the correct time.

My personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible, but there seemed no point 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 ear.


"I hurt my finger..." I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily enough now that I had an audience.

"Isn't your mother home?" came the question.

"Nobody's home but me," I blubbered.

"Are you bleeding?" the voice asked.

"No,"I replied. "I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts."

"Can you open the icebox?" she asked.

I said I could.

"Then chip off a little bit of ice and hold it to your finger," said the voice..

After that, I called "Information Please" for everything. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math.

She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called,

Information Please," and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, "Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?"

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, "Wayne , always remember that there are other worlds to sing in."

Somehow I felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone, "Information Please."

"Information," said in the now familiar voice. "How do I spell fix?" I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest . When I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston . I missed my friend very much.

"Information Please" belonged in that old wooden box back home and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me..

Often, in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said, "Information Please."

Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well.


I hadn't planned this, but I heard myself saying,

"Could you please tell me how to spell fix?"

There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, "I guess your finger must have healed by now."

I laughed, "So it's really you," I said. "I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?"

"I wonder," she said, "if you know how much your call meant to me."

"I never had any children and I used to look forward to your calls."

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.

"Please do," she said. "Just ask for Sally."

Three months later I was back in Seattle.
A different voice answered,

I asked for Sally.

"Are you a friend?" she said.

"Yes, a very old friend," I answered.

"I'm sorry to have to tell you this,"She said. "Sally had been working part time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago."

Before I could hang up, she said,
"Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne ?" "

"Yes." I answered.

Well, Sally left a message for you.
She wrote it down in case you called.
"Let me read it to you."

The note said, "Tell him there are other worlds to sing in. He'll know what I mean."

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.

Never underestimate the impression you may make on others..

Whose life have you touched today?

Lifting you on eagle's wings. May you find the joy and peace you long for. Life is a journey... NOT a guided tour.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
ROCKINMOM776 5/25/2013 9:25PM

    Oh, I love this... this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful weekend, my friend.

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KIPPER15 5/25/2013 3:02PM

    wonderful story.

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NICKYCRANE 5/23/2013 4:24PM

    Lovely! My first experience on the phone was at the tender age of 2. When the operator said: Number Please, I replied in a conversational tone: Have you done a Poo today? Which story went round the neighbourhood....

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NAVYMOM133 5/23/2013 5:55AM

    Wow, that was a beautiful story. Blinking back tears....

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LEW0213 5/21/2013 12:04PM

    For some reason, this brought tears to my eyes this morning. Thank you so much for posting it.

Lifting you on eagle's wings,

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2BEHEALTHY2014 5/21/2013 10:06AM

    I've see his before, but it's definitely worth reading again and gain. Thanks for sharing.

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GAYLE-G-63 5/21/2013 10:05AM

    Great story! I do try to remember each day how my actions may affect another person. And that's why I *try* to be kind and polite to everyone.

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ELSCO55 5/21/2013 7:43AM


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IDLETYME 5/21/2013 7:27AM

    What a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing! emoticon

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ARTJAC 5/21/2013 3:54AM


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JANIEWWJD 5/21/2013 12:55AM

    I loved this blog. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING IT!!! God bless you!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WIO_ALISA 5/21/2013 12:17AM

    So lovely. Thanks for sharing. I think I shall share this with my small group.


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DEE107 5/21/2013 12:11AM

    thank you

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NANA-JEAN 5/20/2013 11:30PM

    emoticon What a truly lovely story!


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WONDERGALE 5/20/2013 10:51PM

    Great Story! emoticon

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MERRYMARY42 5/20/2013 9:59PM

    really nice, Thanks

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BECKYSFRIEND 5/20/2013 8:44PM

    emoticon story

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L*I*T*A* 5/20/2013 7:51PM

    emoticon emoticon

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FLIPPINFIT08 5/20/2013 7:20PM

    beautifully story

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123ELAINE456 5/20/2013 6:26PM

  What an Awesome Beautiful Story. Thank You for sharing it with Us. God Blessings To You and Everyone. Have a Super Great Day. Take Care. Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    What a wonderful story and a great answer....'there are other worlds to sing in.' I need to be more mindful of how I may influence (unconsciously) all of the kids I'm in contact with every day and even my own 3 grandsons. Thanks for sharing this. emoticon

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NILLAPEPSI 5/20/2013 6:01PM

    Beautiful story!!

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LIVINGFREE19 5/20/2013 5:42PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SPARKCHANTAL 5/20/2013 5:32PM

    man have times changed. now all you get is a mechanical voice saying press such and such a number and please wait, all lines are busy or some such nonsense.

i'm so glad I was born b.c. (before computers!)

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TINY67 5/20/2013 5:13PM

    Great, thank you. I hope you don't mind if I pass it on.

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GINA180847 5/20/2013 4:30PM

    That was so touching! I am going to remember that: "Other worlds to sing in!"

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JEANNETTE59 5/20/2013 4:22PM

  Beautiful, thank you so much for sharing emoticon

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    Touching! Like the others, I had tears

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OWL_20 5/20/2013 4:14PM

    This is very touching! Kind of made me tear up--I truly believe you do make impressions on people with your actions and words, even unknowingly. Great story!

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NAYPOOIE 5/20/2013 4:11PM


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EVER-HOPEFUL 5/20/2013 3:24PM

    thanks love that was beautiful emoticon

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BARBARASDIET 5/20/2013 2:52PM

    Great story!

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HARROWJET 5/20/2013 2:37PM

    what a nice story

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SHERYLDS 5/20/2013 2:34PM

    I've got tears in my eyes .... thanks a lot.

that was beautiful

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NEW-CAZ 5/20/2013 2:00PM

    love this emoticon

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GRAMMAMARY 5/20/2013 1:50PM

    so true emoticon

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    A really good story.

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MATTEROFHEART 5/20/2013 1:29PM

    love this!!!

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CELEST 5/20/2013 1:26PM

    How absolutely beautiful.

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LESLIELENORE 5/20/2013 1:20PM

    Brought tears to my eyes.

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LOOKINGUP2012 5/20/2013 1:14PM

    emoticon emoticon

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LASKIE2 5/20/2013 1:03PM

    I love it!

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DR1939 5/20/2013 1:02PM

    Until after I was married (1960) my grandmother still had this type of phone with a local operator.

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KMICHA 5/20/2013 1:02PM

    Great story!

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IAMTOLOSE 5/20/2013 1:01PM

    Lift you up on eagle's wings - a line from a hymn sung at my son's funeral. Thank you for sharing this story.

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FUZZIEBEAR3 5/20/2013 12:54PM

    Oh sweet. Is there someone that this is credited to?

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