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Where I'm Calling From: 1963

Where I'm Calling From: 1963

"Boy in telephone booth, Boston, 1963." Engaged in the archaic activity known as dialing a pay phone, as well as demonstrating the esoteric skill of booth-wedging. 35mm negative, photographer unknown. View full size.


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Ding - Bong

When additional payment was requested by the toll operator, a nickel made a 'ding' sound, a dime was 'ding-ding', and a quarter made a basso 'bong'. Imagine listening to that for an eight-hour shift.

Still in Use

We have numerous telephone booths in each of the office buildings where I work, and they are still heavily used today. Granted, the phones have been removed from nearly all of them, but people still sit in them and close the doors so they can have a private conversation on their cellphones.

Get A Dime, Save A Dime

I remember when it was a nickel.

Street Corner...

When my son was learning to drive I was always reminding him that he should know where he is and how to get where he wanted to go. He seemed oblivious to the idea. I told him that if he ever got lost he could call me and tell me he is at the corner of "Telephone and Telephone".

Phone Booth of Yesteryear

This kid in the photo supporting himself up with his legs against the framing of the booth is just the type of thing kids would do at that age, including me. As many here may remember the phone booth was ubiquitous part of 20th Century culture. They were found almost everywhere, particularly in commercial areas. There was usually an accompanying phone book, the folding door would close and you could talk in private for I believe 3 minutes before it asked you to insert another coin. They were also found indoors. My father owned a restaurant in the Gramercy Park vicinity in the 1960s - 1970s, and there was a phone booth similar to this, which included a bench to sit on. Looking back I find it absurd that it was considered normal for someone to smoke inside the phone booth with the door closed. Those were different times.

Get a Dime

The pulldown change slot replaced the old open style. Some people would stuff a wad of paper up in the slot and return, a day or two later, and pull out the paper plug. It was, usually, good for a bucks worth of change ............ not that I ever did that ;)

Save a dime

The flexible metal covering you see on the phone cord was for more than durability. With an older cord, if you stuck a straight or safety pin into the cord to contact the wire, then touched the pin to bare metal on the phone, you'd get a working dial tone and save yourself a dime. Not that I ever did that, of course.

White Pages

I knew a guy who when he looked up someone's number in a directory in a phone booth, would tear the page with the name and number out of the book. When he was questioned about it, his poor excuse would be that even if he had a pencil, he couldn't write in those cramped places.

By the end of winter

the license plate on that cab had become an illegible sheet of rusted steel. As a result of defective paint applied to the 1963 plates, as well as the typical salt and sand treatments during snowfall, the Massachusetts DMV had to undertake a massive replacement program for the thousands of ruined plates (mostly the ones on the front bumpers).

A similar but less expensive problem befell the plates of '70 or '71 (by then made of aluminum) when the annual renewal stickers (paper) suffered a washout of the printed year designation, and all car owners had to go to a local registry to obtain replacements.

Couldn't they have done a replacement by mail? Of course not; it was the DMV, and they did things their way.

[What cab? -tterrace]

Ooops! Should have been posted under "Back in Beantown: 1963. THAT cab.

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