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I recently posted a blog about telephone “party lines.”  These multiple lines, where several homes heard every ring, were the source of great stories (as well as great tension among neighbors.)

Read and enjoy!

Party Line comments

The Dry Creek party line had 16 phones on it.  You could listen to every call that every party line member received.  Each party had a “crank” type wall phone and your ring was a combination of long and short rings.  Ours was one long, one short, and one long ring.  Could tell you some real stories  about those phone calls!!!”   -Rose Manuel

“I’ll never forget my grandmother, after dementia had set in, trying to figure out how to ring “two longs and a short” with our “modern” rotary phone!  It just wouldn’t work! ”

Bass Brenda commented on your post:

“My family lived in the north part of Starks which was the Lunita/Green Island area and we all had party lines.  You could call anyone like a normal phone, but to call a party line person was the trick.  You would dial their number and hold down the button and it would ring at the other persons house.  When someone else on the  partyline would receive a call your phone would make a grunt sound.  Our party line consisted of three families, one brother and two sisters.  If their sister from Lake Charles would call my mom, one of the kids would have to run across the field to tell my aunt, so they could both talk to their sister. I heard some party lines caused fights between neighbors, but not with ours.”

Call or run by and visit Grandmaw Gill(Aunt Estelle) at the nursing home by the fair grounds…she knows everything and loves to talk….

Do you mean the ones where one house would get a certain ring and another house would get another?? My friend had one of those in high school and her MawMaw would pick up and listen to her conversations!! hehehe….drove her nuts!!

We hadd a party line for years with Aunt Eloyce and Uncle Claude Pate in North LA and it was in the early 80’s. lol I remember that so well– she was always on there talking to her sisters especially on Sunday afternoons– and I remember PaPate coming and telling me–Your phone is off the hook and Jennifer is jabbering on it– yep– Jen loved the telephone at 2 years old– though not good when u are on a party line—lol

OH– you could tell by the ring if it was yours or theirs– they had one short, one short, we had one long, one long ring—

Not sure about 1941 but when I grew up in the 70’s there was a party line here in our area – if 1 person left their phone off the hook, NO ONE could use the phone! Was odd to pick up the line and hear others talking 🙂

Curt Call Randy Goleman, he’s in the Elizabeth telephone directory. He will know first hand and he has worked for the Elizabeth Telephone Company (Camtel)for over 30 years.

We still had a party line in Mittie until about ’89 I think.

call grandma and she can tell you. they still had one when we moved here.

There were usually four households on the party line. Each household had its own ring. For example, our house was three rings. Since the ring with to all four households, you often had other folks listening in. If too many people stayed on the line, it was hard to hear. It wasn’t unusual for the called person to say, ‘get off the line.”

First of all, you charge up your cell phone, then press the speed dial of all your friends and invite them to the party. After that all you have to do is wait for them to show up, oh yea, tell them not to forget the cake and presents.   (In every group, there is a joker.  This is from Dry Creek party line veteran and lifetime friend Don Brewer.)

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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