Smith, Mariam / The history of Omro
Telephones, pp. 198-199
199 in particular a subscriber was talking with her sister in Polish. Finally a listen-iner could stand it no longer she demanded "talk United States 1" A manager had his problems. In the early 1900s with a country line full of about 10 subscribers, a dead phone greeted everyone on the line north of Omro that reached half way or so to Winneconne. "Line out of order" was the crylI The manager-was notified. He searched--and searched--for the cause. Up and down the road and the by-road, wires were fine. In each subscriber's home, batteries were all up to snuff, and nothing wrong with the wires leading in to the phones. The trouble eluded him. Poor Ben was staxmped and about ready to give Up. One more try. Examining each phone again, at my Uncle's he reached upto the little shelf near the top of the phone. There he discovered my Uncle's steel framed reading glasses resting against a metal part of the phone. The glasses were the culprit. They maused a short that threw the entire country line out of whack ! The first charge was $1.25 per month. A promise that when more patrons subscribed the charge would be less. (Oh, Yes? ) Telephone rent has climbed continually since the first one was installed way back in the early days--almost. At least once we find that thei7,Zi Wisconsin public service comnission ordered a 12,o reduction in telephone rates. This happened in July of 1932. The operators were dedicated to their duties. Whenever the fire whistle blew, all off duty operators hurried to the telephone office to take care of the flurry of calls. Many times Doctors would phone in to tell the operator where they were going and where t hey could be contacted in case of an emergency. Emerson Bronson did likewise because of his undertaking business. One could phone "central" for the correct time of day. The telephone girls had their fun, also. Wqhen one had a birth- day a cake or lqnch was in order. Occasionally the day operators would order a fish dinner from Geo. Herrick's Restaurant and the night operator alerted to pick up the order for the 3 of them on her way to the office. One lineman would sometimes treat the girls to ice cream cones. Answering calls and slurping ice cream cones at the same time was something that took concentration and dexter- ity. Some of the telephone girls down through the years were. . It. Milller, Lillian Peterson, Hazel Hoger, Luella Darrow, Leona Litt6le, Ella Littlo++, ...E iiz°+abet+j th, Bonnie + .............. He.................a'+ * tT~eEihPohl, Ve.rna Larson, Helen Moriearty,1 __ . i Doris Challoner, Irene Zellmer, Muriel Morlearty, Ruth Laiten, Fern Laiten. Also Lou~isa ... R e~id,+ Berdina Coats, Laura Petero,i--rl \\Clark. No doubt- t here++were others, too. At least one man served \as "tHello-.girlt". He was night operator Ha ~ev Ti in 1~910, the only recorded, male to man the Omro switchboad. _ Here is a story related by a former "hello-.girl".--(4next page) Sora Hartsen Marble was an early local telephone operator or "central" as possibly Mabel Marshall, Bernice-Cundy and Edna Thompson.
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