Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Party Line

How many of you remember "party line" telephones? I suppose it shows my age to say that I do. My parents lived out in the country in the Ozarks when I was in college (in the mid-1980s... so I'm not that old!), and it was the only kind of line they could get, even then. Surely they don't still have them anywhere, do they?

I found it greatly annoying to have the neighbors constantly picking up the phone when I was trying to talk to my husband-to-be who lived in the next state over. They just had no patience for "young love"! On the other hand there's the "benefit" of being able to "listen in" to see what is going on at the neighbor's. Not that you were supposed to do that. And not that I ever did. (At least, not much... and only by accident!)

I've mentioned my interest in vintage activities, and one activity I enjoy is listening to old time radio shows from the 1930s and '40s. My favorite is the Lum & Abner show about the two old hillbillies who have a general store in a small town in Arkansas. They have an old jangly telephone that rings often, and it's on a party line. Much of the humor of the storyline was drawn from the idea of eavesdropping on the neighbors.

That's kind of what blogging reminds me of... the old party line. Neighbors calling each other just to visit, and the lurkers are kinda like the eavesdroppers listening in. I learned a few days ago that it's officially "de-lurking" week, so if you fall in that category now's the time to speak up and introduce yourself! Blogging is so much fun! I've made new friends and connected with old friends, and I enjoy getting to know everyone better.

I'd like to invite everyone to join my "party line"... and to celebrate I am going to be hosting a bi-weekly giveaway. In the past, all you had to do to be entered in my giveaways was post a comment during a certain length of time. I'm going to change that up a bit. My giveaways will be open to my regular blog visitors... but I won't know who you are unless you post a comment. If you're not already listed on my side-bar and you'd like to be, just let me know. And I'd love it if you would return the favor. Every other Monday (starting January 21) I will choose a winner from among my friends. Usually the prize will be a book, but you never know... I might offer something I've knitted or crocheted, too. Won't that be fun?

Well... Thanks for listenin' in... Let's chat again soon!


Vader's Mom said...

My granny had a party line. I always hated trying to call my cousins to come visit me and having to wait on the neighbors to hang up. Of course my cousins had party lines too, so it wasn't easy to get ahold of them either!!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and thanks for the memory.

Hope said...

Hi Karla,
If you've read any of my archives you know that I was raised in a holler and we didn't have the privelege of a phone for many years. When we did get one though we were on a party line! That's all we had back then. And yes, I'M that old!! :) Also, if you read any of my archives, you know that with me there's a story behind everything!

My great aunt and uncle had just had a phone installed and my aunt was talking to my mom about it. What she said to my mom was, "Hattie, is your END private?"
LOL I've laughed about that for years now!!

Of course, unlike you, I NEVER listened in on conversations!! (Wink!) Besides those old ladies on our line didn't have anything exciting to talk about, just town gossip which everybody knew already! Old hat stuff! But a young couple in love and about to be married, now that might have been interesting! :)

Your giveaway sounds like fun. Count me in! Also, I wanted to ask where you can hear Lum and Abner? Is there an online source?

Come visit again soon!

Love and Hugs,

Karla said...

Yes, indeed! There are online sources for Lum & Abner. Collecting old-time radio shows was one of the first things I got involved in when we first got on the internet back in 1998. (Has it only been 10 years?)

I have my own Lum & Abner webpage at
with links to other pages where you can download a few episodes in MP3 format. If that's not enough to suit ya, just let me know.

Rachel said...

Just dropping in to "listen"!xo

The Going Blog said...

What a fun way to get everybody out of their silence! I have you on my google reader now so I read all your posts. Does that make me a stalker? ha

pse said...

Guilty!!This silent stalker is interested in the drawings too, but then it wouldn't be fair for your mother to win!

Love you bunches.

Farrah said...

Fun, fun, fun! So glad people like you are out there making the world a cheerier place!

Sunydazy said...

We had a party line when I was in high school! Does that mean I'm old? ;-)
Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. Love yours! I'll add you to my sidebar and i'll be back to visit more.

Jewlz said...

Well, I read your blog. I would add you to my blog list, but I don't know how. My blog's private, so if you would like to have a look just email me, and I'll add you. Your blog is really interesting.
itsmyemail (at)

Tiffany said...

I did not believe it when my husband told me that they had had a party line until the 1990s! I had to ask his parents because I thought he was pulling my leg. But, alas, he was telling the truth! They lived out in the country in SE MO (the bootheel). He said it was common for people to pick up the phone and start banging their receiver on the table if you took too long. I could not imagine! That's a city girl for ya!