Number, Please

The telephone office was up over Frank Webb’s store.  Muriel Fifield and Dora Beatrice were the two operators that I remember.  Back in 1946 I had just graduated from Maine Maritime Academy in Castine and gotten a job as 3rd Engineer on the SS Alma Victory for American Export Lines.  We had loaded grain in Galveston, Texas, and were due to sail for India. 

I wanted to call my folks, Harold and Alda Small, before we sailed that night.  I made the phone call, and I heard the operator making connections in Washington, Boston, Ellsworth, and finally Stonington.  I heard Muriel ringing my folks, but there was no answer, and I was so disappointed that I wouldn’t get to talk with them before we sailed around midnight. 

Then I heard Muriel say to the other operator: “Tell him his folks have gone to Lodge but should be home in another two hours.” Sure enough, I called back later and got them. Try and get that sort of personalized service today!  Those days of the telephone operator are long gone.

Montelle L. “Monty” Small

June 2014

Deer Isle-Stonington Historical Society ✦ P O Box 652 ✦ Deer Isle,  ME  04627 ✦ 207-348-6400