The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on January 21, 1953 · Page 7
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 7

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Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, January 21, 1953
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Page 7
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WEDNESDAY, JAN. «, IMS . ' •• v ^ •%«*•%£.&«• • • . • "....; . ..",'. . V , . . Laura Rogers' Telephone Career Began Nearly Half Gentry Ago A beloved eervant of the public it one whom Oeceola na long ago pro- Claimed the living tymbol of aervlc* '(•Jom *nd above the call of duty. 8ha U Mrs. Laura Rogers, who was retiring! from Southwestern Bell Telephone Company In 1B50 after beginning her career In \VA with the Trl - States Telephone Company owned by the late R. C. Rose of Roseland. Her job took her to Blytheville, , b**to»lng upon her th* honor of being the final telephone operator in Blytheville, To go back to 1*M, there were only JO subscriber! who were convinced the telephone wasn't Juit a fad, "Thoae X," Mrt. Rogers Mid, "had to be taught to ute It just aa I had to b* taught to operate the twitch- board. The late J. O. Sudbury wat given number one. "Mr. Roger* and I worked aa a "two-party system.' Re waa the line man .or trouble ehootor, and I handled the board. Neither of u* had anyone to relieve ui ao I taught htm how to operate the switchboard ao I-could go home for my meala. Thla wat a 34 hour Job for both of u* aeven dayt a -reek. 1 The • two of u* together drew down the big amount of |90 a month. I'm eure hla end of it amounted to be a great deal more than my end and I've often wondered Just what my ealary 'really wat," ahe smiled. IN 1*04, there were very few sidewalks in Blytheville, even on the main slreet," Mrs. Roger* continued. "The ones that were there were plank waits, with about every other plank missing—probably taken up to be used-for atove wood. There WM no drainage in this part of the country and during th* rainy sea. eons we really had a time getting lo work. I wore but ae many pairs ol rubber boots as I did leather -shoes "Mr. and Mr». Rose owned the telephone company" In Oeceola as well an in Blytheville. She had learned the trade right along with Mr. Rose and she taught the operator in Oeceola' as well at teaching me how to use the switchboard There were no care or good roads bick then and Mr. Rose would travel from Oeceola to Blytheville on the train until the two offices were well established^ "The" trouble-wagon, was just what.. the .name'.lmplied," amlled Mrs. .Rogers'. "It really t waa "an old mule-drawn wagon. There, wasn't much equipment back in those days but there was a constant demand for repairing the linee. .' ' "In Winer-tune, it was terrible. Mr. Rogers had an old dugout he car' Tied on the wagon and he would row-It out Into the back waters, ["where It seemed was the most pop- -''ular spot fo'r the lines' to break down, "When the wngon got out of the rut* in the road, It was Impossible to find your way out ao he never took the chance of being stalled.^If he had been, there might have been • dyt before anybody pawed along to help him. ' , : ' . • ' • * THERE WERE only two buslneas houtes west of the railroad In Bly- thevllle at the time the telephone company came in there. The old timers In Blythevllle will remember those two—the Waters Hotel, and Satterfield's Livery Stable. The lirit toll telephone In Blytheville waa set up in Bertlg's etore," Mrt. Rqg- era said. , "Previous to the officially operated 'phone company, a Dr. Far- Tow had rigged up a device 10 he could talk over from hi* office to the drug store. , : "I worked In the Blytheville office for three years and quit to raise a family. My first two children, Maa- •"vVhen we moved back to Osceola, Mr. Rogers opened a butcher shop where Florman's atore Is now located. Our next two children, Imogene and Gilbert, were born In Osceola. 'I waa left a widow,' 'continued Mra. Rogers, "when my oldeat ton wai U. : Nobody can ' ever' Imagine the sinking feeling that comes over you when you wake up in the morning and there Isn't even enough money on hand to buy a loaf of bread for rour husky children. "I didn't know which way to turn but I knew something had to"'take place 'aa : I made;;up my mind that very day aa long u there was : a breath in my body I would not'give up my children. The flrat thing I thought of going waa to take in tewing which I did, but in those days, teamstrestes only got a dollar to make a garment that took the entire day to make. "At my custqmert -would come pick up their garment* and pay me, I rushed out the b«k door before they got out of alght and hurried to the grocery store to buy food for my children. .*"••.--• "MRS. WILL McGarrity lived next door to me and ahe came ever to my house one day and Mid the knew what a atruggle I wat having trying to take care of my brood with the measley little amount I could earn by taking in sewing and told me a new highway, «1, wa» under construction and I could get some of the men to board with me That sounded like a good idea' and I could still slay at home with my four small children. I wound up »'lth 40 table boarders and did all the cooking for them. "There waa a vacancy *t the telephone office for a night operator tb'I applied for the job and got It That waa In I«3, and the night job then didn't require the operator to stay at the board all night as there were very few cell* after 10 »jn - - *•- ~ •-•—»•• *vri unr «na bell that rang when aomebody called in waa placed near my cot The worse thing about the night Job was being away from the children, but they soon learned to look after one another. This job paid M » week and that was bl« wage< in thoee daya for a telephone operator. Some of :the other girls were only making *J week, leas than anybody paid their cooke. " • • • . "I had a terrible struggle but nobody ever heard me complain. I was «o thankful my'health was good and that I didn't have to put the children In separate homes that I felt if I complained it would be a terrible, iin-.'I- learned to truat in-Qod not, Juat on Sunday but every' day and everything would come out in my favor, and It always did. "Back in thoae days there wms no telephone directory. The funny part about it when any one called in for a connection, they never dreamed of aakihg for a number. If there we* » Junior in the family, the "ausecrib- er would merely-|»y: 'Give me Old Man So-and-So'a house, 1 and we knew eaketljr.'who they meant. They never asked for a doctors' number, they wcuW ask ui, 'win you pleaee ret hold of Doctor,Sp-and-8« and tell him to hurry over here, 1 jeme- tlmea without telling who they were, but in a amaU town th.e telephone «»eriitor reeognlaea everyewdy-i voice and th* doctor got to the riant plaee. <• ' •:""The busiest times I had en duty wa« informing everybody where the firea were and giving out the time. I u*ed to wonder how many people* in town owned watches er " "IT HAS been said more tunet ihaii one," continued Mrs. Roger*, 'that there never was a town like Oeceola. everybody here doe* Just about at they please and further- mere," she added, "they nearly »1- wayi get by with it. So when tele- >hone directories were flrat dlt- :ributed, everybody threw them in the waste basket. They never asked by »umb*r for whom OM* with** tO f^Uj tl^t tjlfrf gVttftUdat 6ef UlU ^ took WM Uatt tfa*r Dttw ."A few a« th* old thnaii didat •top '•* throwing th*lr directory in Oi« w**i* bukoi. Tb*y wwat aa far aa to tear th* phon* *ff th* wall and throw it m the basket, too. I we* Ilk* eetting tin to dynamite when the** kind would e*U t or So and-*V>, and we would connect them with information. Th*** w*r* th* rule* and we had to abtd* with them or pernapc lo** our job*. . "It do**n't mean anything to th* public, but when 1 earn* here to work," continued Mr*. Rogers, "we only had a four petition twitch boerd but now th* twiteh board it a 14 petition one. There were only six or eight operator* and now then are M. . . ' . . "The beautiful retirement p*rty th* oBIo» tore* reve me waa a, complete «urpric*. On my birthday, March 1*. Jf*ll Kent the chl»f operator, told me }u*t the glrla in the office wanted me to come back to.th* offloe that night to with me a happy birthday, and etno* Jt waa my night off, ah* thought it would b* nice. ' . •' ' . '•. '•.•''••' T TOLD HER I would come aek if she would promise me not to. let the glrla buy'gifts for m* She agreed to it. One of my ehll- dren had aent me a dr**a for my birthday and I only meant to trj ;t on to see if there were any alterations to be made. While I was admiring myself in my new dress I heard footstep* on 'th* porch and I dldnt have time to slip off my dres». I w»nt to the door and there were my two daughters, Imogene from Memphla and Pauline and her ton, Gilbert, from Detroit - "I aunoet fainted and atked them why they hadn't told m* they were oooning. When they, laid they had come for my birthday, all 1 could :hink to say was, 'You all never hare mad* a special trip for that. Imogen* had com* up from Memphis on the but and stayed up town until the afternoon - train ran to meet P»u]lne. •Thar* really waa a lot that took Dlace behind my back. Since March 2» wat my latt day to wOrk, It still dldnt dawn en m* what waa tak- ng place. We fooled around until ;h* time for me to to to my birthday party and the tfrla inalsted on my wearing my new dreae, which had th* hem pinned in K," emlled Mrs. Rogers. "We went on over to the tele- shone offloe and when we did there was nobody In *i«ht but Heli and she told ui it-vu ao crowded n the office we'd all go over to th* Maaonie Hall where the other opera tore wm waiting for u*. old dumb me," continued Mn. Xogeri '1; wa* - with the crowd ao over we went and when' we walked in here were telephone men and women from all over the dUtrlct, and he Hall looked like a florist' shop. "People from all ovsr town had tent basket* of flowers and I even had a choice'of which orchid cor- tage I,would wear. I chose a gor- eout white one, since It wat my first orchid.. It also waa the firat white one I had ever seen, but before the evening waa gone, the irl* pinned them on-each shiyil- der. on my hair and there were till some left over to pin on my laughters. The moat wonderful tur- ey dinner was prepared but I wat xclted I eVm't remember a thing at*. • - ' - ....-,.• • * • •DURINn rn m**l, the phm* ty ami it m my twa am* in ealifBrnia-eallm, »M. . Mr*. Kent uranged rcr the call t* e«me -_ugh at ih* right tim«."-<Th* ccompanyin* pict\»r*, which it a* ypical, waa made while ahe wa* talking to her tont.- Her aen-in-law and frandaen. ftne, drove up frftm M««phia and •»Uflit tlw tameiye kirthday aak* lutt_a* the dinner ** underway. "ThU night waa a flrM Ume fer several thing*. I ree*ived my flrat rchid, it waa my flnt real birth- ay party ahd—something I al- p *y* ™'«J T WM P>«f to buy f«r myeelf when 1 got rich—I waa pr*. tented my flrtt wateh. "My granda«n, Gen* Fendergraaa, was an herior guard in the Cotteei amlval two montna later, and I he flrat time in my Ufe T ISM rouglit me M many aurprl*ee it will alwayt b« » ye*r that will stand wt in my mewwry, but I'd •> haek my »ld Job at night operator i« minute and stay there until I STARR GAZING how• li IB excellent .tlm* to talc* M'«ntag. or th, lay-away plan on your next Chrt»tmaa gift giving- Stteal •*!•*! S*l*!| A woman's «n*» »nd a nightmare to the "?.?• £"* 3 ' ou kn<sw »• o —n't the woman who pay«. A ety on the eye lid usually indicate* i g.n«r»l run-down condition •nd th« treatment contfcu of a general buildup of health. If. a ml»Uk«e> idea they are caused by eye Mrtin. You don't M« kldi with ''sore eree" like you did yeir» no 10 gueu died If they'd tot me. But ilnce It lan't «n old ladlet hom«, I'll have to he content with twin* *, i»dy for tht balance of my daya." In the »7 year* of working in the tMola efllM, Mr,. Ro|erl wa , never a bunt due to 111 neat, and thata * r*cord In lUelf. »U thl« pampering required to make junior eat hla spinach ii good for something—Let's hope. Today malts the IMth year Mnei the birth of Stonewttl Jackabn HU campaign In i*n It regarded aa a military masterpiece. After outflanking the Union forces at Chan- celloisvllle, 1863, was accidentally shot by his own men. He vs.. General Robert E. Lee's most able general. * Matrimony It an Institution of learning In which a man loses hit bachelor's degree • and nil wife acquires her maslert, With the Fourth of July to far sway and too cold for picnics, did anybody .ever tell you wieners were made from the udderi of cowt I hop* they. were wrong but right or wront, ill think about that every time they're mentioned. Power oi *ug ge*Uon dot* work wondert. , '* -»««»• firat-tlm. father was tailing hU trlende what a bad time he had »hen Junior wai born. Somebody, In the crowd would auk, 'Who had that baby, you or your wife." His reply w., ; ••«„, dWi but she had an anetthetle. Wonder what folk long win b* mad. popular by Ike exprewlng » liking to It I don't believe I've heard "Home on the Range," «ince Roosevelt died and I'll water Mfe- aourl Wall* i*. * dead duck, « of today. ' W« would hav* been born with two moutha and on*'ear if we were tuppowd to talk more than listen. It's a good. Idea to change lh« subject If you can't b, tolerant. An oune* »f Judgment It worth PAGEJ5EVEN mor* than a ton of encyclopedia!. Water It the only thing that n- itU> tht't too weak to be a einn*,; People *ho are the salt ol th* earth go a long way toward ata- wning other Hvee. vice . person who won't take ad- lan't necessarily any nun stubborn than the one who 1. «*- ferlng Jt. ' • Th« well of providence it deep Its the bucketa we bring to it that are email. he nentleman or gentlewoman la unconscloui that they ere »ueh. About the person who alwayt re- mlnds you they are your friend, did you ever «top and wonder? You know the old saying: "Actions ipeak louder than words. Every year somebody la voted th* Be* STARE GAZING e* PM* f Iti 41 "W«rtfc More" ' featmrM •ffer JOB • »••»* MW lUBvird •f-rhhg! No Totd ever held a greater . promi** of loni-liv*d value . than thia *p*rklinr. new 1SSS Ford. Look what you get! You |*t ro*d-TuIint "Go" in Ford'e V-g and Six eoginee. . -, Yw« f*t Ford'anew Miracle Kid* fer a new concept of ridinf comfort on oil ro«da. IB Ford's quality' deaijn Ci«»tin»rk Body you get living-" room that'f the «ne*t moet comfortable In the low-pri«« field. N» w«n(Ur thty't* wiling- thlp'U r«rd U>* NewSUnd- •H *< the AnurieBB Ro«d! Jtffrr... The logs Ftmn t» u**» mgie/ Sroanxmo or tt. e Axtxtatjat ROM> BDMIKf CMVn WMMHU, «r.wU. rM «W« ^ W, »*«*<>*.»»»« yw, Pu«.cird« CMTM^MI OT-MUAW MOt 1H> h ••Itwlty •*«« yov tvm Nw AUTOanTK POWN MOT e>vw yw M**- PHILLIPS MOTOR COMPANY Phon« 4453 Br*a*jw*jy *V Chickaiawbfj ••••^g^ j^^^' ^^^^ ^^ - - • • • ••--.-•• .-• - '^^^••••^••••^•••••-••^•ai*»a^»»»jaa^aga^i1 l< ^,,« tJ i^,^ >< ,^,^aa»aa»«a«»»»«»«5 PRE-MARKET CLEARANCE SALE 25% TO 50% DISCOUNTS ON MANY FAMOUS NAME ITEMS! OFF On Fine Giftwqre Including • Charleton China • Hand Painted Vases . • Ash Trays, etc. DANE FERGUS JEWELRY and GIFTS Osceolq,Ark. Phone 830 Big Reductions on Watches - Aluminum Brass - Silver Plated Flatware •nd Many Other Items

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