The telephone company, Part 2

Another week gone by. That’s about all that I can say. I had the “luxury” of going to New Jersey this past week for a couple of days. Jackie K is cleaning out her house down there and it’s crunch time for packing. We don’t do anything but drive straight down, pack up belongings, eat what we brought, sleep in sleeping bags, and come back up. The road construction was horrible this time, and the traffic is getting worse. Instead of four hours coming home, it took six. I’m glad to be back in my own home with my furniture, my bed and my belongings.

The forsythia I planted along my border seems to have taken root, and, hopefully soon, I will have a hedge between me and the gas tanks.

The bears are definitely out and about. Several HUGE bears have been sighted in Jewett. With all of the people who are living in their part time homes, full time, there has been a lot more added to the all you can eat buffets. Please remember NOT to put your garbage outside. If you have trash pickup, get up earlier on trash day and put it out just before it’s picked up. If you are leaving after the weekend, find someone to put it out for you, don’t leave it for scavengers to get into. The roadsides are littered with bags and whatever. Please keep our mountains pristine.

Welcome back to the snowbirds who are slowly making their way up north. Speaking of birds, have you put up your hummingbird feeders yet? Judy and John put theirs up Sunday at 2 p.m., by the time I got there at 3, they were already dining out. It’s great to sit and watch them right outside your dinner table. Grosbeaks and Orioles have been visitors at many local establishments. Charlene was telling me about a Tufted TitMouse who is trying to make a nest in her indoor plants. (S)he keeps knocking on her window trying to get to them. Goldfinches are showing up in record numbers this year, also. Janet Armstrong in East Durham has them in bunches feeding on her Niger seed feeder.

If you know of someone who has a working dryer to give away, please call me 518-734-5360. One is desperately needed.

If you know of someone who needs a hot meal, Deb Maynard and friends, in conjunction with local restaurants, are delivering to shut ins. Restaurants participating in the program include Brandywine, Windham Diner, Mill Rock and Vesuvio. The Greek Orthodox Church started with a $100 donation to this program. The restaurants are charging this program $10/meal. When delivered, the shut-in has the option of a donation to recoup the fees, or a free meal. Donations to this program are being accepted.

Had dinner with my friend, Rose, last night. It was a treat for both of us to sit on the porch (enclosed), and talk. Social interaction is still important to the elderly. As well as getting away from the constant phone calls I get. A very peaceful evening.

THE LEXINGTON FARMERS MARKET is opening 10 a.m.-1 p.m. May 23. A few changes this year: Customers must wear masks and gloves. There will be no rest rooms available. Please leave your canine pals at home or in your car. For your and our safety, volunteers will promote social distancing. There will be produce, mushrooms, dairy products, baked goods, meat, eggs, Michael‘ s beer and more. Come see what your neighbors look like behind a mask. Hope to see you at the market!

Two very special birthday greetings go out to Leona Knox who turned 90 on May 14, and to her old buddy (and mine), Kip Rikard who also turned 90. Kip had a drive by birthday party on Sunday. Happy Birthday wishes to Janet Nicols who has a birthday on May 22. Happy Anniversary wishes to Albin and Vicky Beckmann who celebrated 55 years of blissful harmony.

Prayers to the family of William Richards who passed this week. Prayers and sympathy are extended to the family and friends of Susumu Sato of “Beds On Clouds” Bed and Breakfast who passed away last week. Get well wishes and prayerful thanks for Theresa Speenburgh. Prayers and Get Well wishes go to Diane Cross who is recovering from surgery. Please keep in mind all those who have pending surgeries, and all those who are self isolating. Prayers and thanks for Richard Hardy who is home from the hospital, recovered from the virus, and self transporting to his dialysis treatments.


Telephone building part 2

As you look at the building as it stands, you go up the stairs and in the front door. To the right (East Side), is a long room. The Chief’s desk was inside of the door. The switch board ran from the front which was street side, to the back porch. The first 4 positions were local and the rest for long distance, which was anything out of town. Town was just Windham, all other towns had their own stations. A rolling type desk was located in the center of the room. On this desk was the tickets for the long distance calls, and books to find cities and states, and how to transfer calls to various locations. When a long distance call came in, the operator had to write down the time it came in, where the caller was calling, and the time that it ended. This information had to be tallied up by the operator, initialed, and put in a file. During the night shift, the night operator had to verify the slips, which were sent to billing, and put on the phone bills. During the summer, it was hard to keep up with the billing as so many tourists were calling home. During the summer, the back door of the building was kept open for air circulation. When Millie Austin worked, her grandson, Lynn Sokoll would come in to talk to her. Lynn was always her favorite, so he would often come in with his friends Danny Snider and Billy Scarey. What they really came in for was to hit her up for some money to spend at Morse’s store.

Behind the building is a large barn and a path that went to what is now Thunderbird Terrace. Many black caps grew in the thicket there, and during breaks we would all go out to pick.

The chief was Mrs. VanLoan, who had one son. Marge Deyo was supervisor, and later chief. She and her husband, Charlie, lived in the apartment located in the building. Talk about an easy commute.

In 1965, direct dial came to Windham, and the local operators were no longer needed. Some moved to Catskill, and some just moved on. The Sokoll family moved into the apartment, and Margaret’s Beauty Salon moved into the work area. Another lifestyle gone. The building is now an art gallery.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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