I was born in the Telephone City – Brantford – and someone in the family kept an old pamphlet that announced the arrival of direct-dialing via Bell Telephone. No more going through Marge on the giant switchboard. No more opportunities for Marge to listen in on your conversations.
Two things came to mind. First, that the telephone is to us what the Internet is to millennials. They don’t know the world without it. Second, that advertising has come a long way. This pamphlet either predated or didn’t enlist the talents of the Mad Men of the day. It’s wordy and overly detailed and you have to get to the bottom of page four to see a company name or logo. Can you imagine getting an information piece from any corporation where their name and logo aren’t up front and repeated several times?
So, direct-dialing has been in the Brantford area for about 52 years. Party-lines continued in rural areas for a long time after that. You had to wait for your ring – one long, two short – before you picked up the phone. And if it wasn’t your ring, you might pick it up anyway and overhear Beth telling Peter that it’s over because of his affair with Meg! Party-lines – the original soap operas.