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Off the Editor’s Desk 10-5-2022


As I think about all the time that has past in my life-time I quickly think about how things were some fifty years ago and all the changes that have taken place over those years.

We must embrace change or we will be left behind. I learned the printing trade from my father and then from Dunwoody in Minneapolis and within fifteen years all that I learned was obsolete and was being replaced with new technology, but I was able to grab on to most of the new things, but the working of the computers has left my head spinning.

Henry Ford once said “If I’d ask my customers what they wanted, they’d have said, don’t change anything.”

Henry was apparently reluctant to embrace change. His Motel T Ford car was all that America needed, he figured. But after building 15 million Model Ts from 1908 to 1927, Henry had to face change as his completion was making a better product than he had to sell. So he came out with the Model A, which had twice the horsepower of the Model T and sold over four and half million Model As. In 1932, he changed to a V-8 engine that had more than twice the horsepower of the Model A.

And, every year since, there has been a change of some sort until we now have a vehicle that will drive itself.

Have you embraced change? You can’t live in our fast paced society without changing with it.

I like to have you remember telephones and you can ask your young family members, if they know what a dial phone was? Better yet, I will ask all of you if you can remember what the phone was and how it operated before the dial phone came into service.

The box type phone mostly hung on the wall and it had a single earpiece on a wire that you held to your ear and the cup shaped mouthpiece that was part of the box hanging on the wall. The box also contained a crank and you rotated it when you wanted to make a call. The crank sent a charge to an operator at a central office in your community where she would ask you, “Number Please.”

The operator would move your line wire and place it in the line of the number you were calling. If the line you were calling, was busy, the operator would tell you. If you were lucky enough to have a private line you would get your call right away, but if you were part of a party line, up to a dozen customers on a line, you would have trouble getting to use that line and if you got a call the entire neighborhood could listen in.

Our first phone in 1963 was a two party affair and the other party spoke German, so I could not “Rubber” on their conservation. Every time I wanted to use the telephone, the other party was using it and it did not take long before we had a private line. 

One advantage of the local operator is that they would receive emergency calls and notify the fire department and would ring all the phones on that party line to inform all the neighbors of that fire.

Other things that have changed that come to my mind was that Saturday nights were shopping nights in town and I remember the older men telling that they would go to the barber Saturday night, while the women folks were busy getting groceries, and the men got shaved so they would be clean shaven for Sunday Church. I remember the saying, “Shave and hair cut, two bits.” Do you remember what two bits are?

Thanks for reading!     ~Carlton

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