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The Party Line December 6, 2006

Posted by hearhart in : Isabelle Siewert, dean , trackback

Dean Siewert (Erlah’s nephew) emailed me this great story….

“On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we had a little get-together of some of the Siewert clan. I asked both Joyce Evans and Beulah Evans if they would like to attend, and so we had a lovely afternoon. During the course of the evening, Joyce told a story about my grandmother, Isabelle. This story was a bit of a surprise in that it seemed totally out of character for Grandma, as I knew her. As I grew up, I saw Grandma as very formal, almost regal in presentation. She read her bible, went to church, and did what was right.

“As you know, my Dad purchased the house on the other side of the barn, next to Grandma. And as a result, when I was very young, we actually shared a “party-line” with Grandma (we had the party line until the early to mid ’60s or so). Maybe you can imagine my surprise when Joyce started talking about how Grandma used to love to listen on the party line. As Joyce put it, it was just a little harmless fun when there was almost no entertainment available. The phone at that time was a crank phone, in a little nook just off the kitchen. Part of this activity was to cover up the mouth-piece so the people having the conversation didn’t know they had company. To facilitate this, Grandma would press her forearm against the phone mouthpiece and hold the earpiece to her ear. Well, Joyce said you could always tell when Grandma had been listening because you could see this red circle pressed into her forearm. A totally different Grandma than I ever met….. ”

LOL!!! I forwarded the story to Mom who said, “This is WAY COOL! I remember the party line phone, it had different rings for different people. I wasn’t aware that it was connected to Ted and Joyce Siewert’s phone. I think there were 3 or 4 homes that shared the line.”

Thanks Dean!!!

(NOTE: Of course, I had to look up what a party line was–I had heard of them before, but wanted to be certain. Check out wikipedia’s article here to learn more about them!)