The Eight Party Line plus A Stacey Burns Response
Apparently, at least one other person, maybe two or three more, were interviewed in the spring by the detective working the Stacey Burns active (cold case) investigation. That would be about the same time I spoke with that same detective. Maybe there is some hope this terrible crime will be solved during the lifetime of people who lived through that ordeal as friends and family of Stacey. Can you imagine how many new cases are now in process in the eleven and and a half years since her murder? I am still interested in hearing from anyone else who has been interviewed over the past year or so.
I’ve written a series of short anecdotes about our move from suburban New Jersey to rural New Hampshire in 1970. I thought I’d share a portion of our experiences, this one on obtaining a telephone line when we moved into a house about twelve miles from “town” where we were living in a rental house. Here it is.
Barbara took charge of the utility aspect of the moving process. Her call to the electric company went exactly as expected with assurances that the power would be on, and its affordability would be a financial revelation for us. This revelation lasted less than a year, but that lesson comes later in the narrative.
Her call to the local telephone company presented more of a challenge. Instead of arranging for a simple connection process, she was informed that she would have to drive out to the house, find the nearest telephone pole, locate the attached metal plate with an identification number, write it down, and call the company back to report said number. Only then could they tell her if a phone was available. She did as she was told, loading our three-year-old into the car, wondering if she’d have to shinny up the pole to find the number. As it happened, the trip out and back was without incident, and she arrived home with the precious identifying number safely in her pocket.
The call to the company again stretched her incredulity to the breaking point. After providing the information requested to the customer service representative, she waited for several minutes, then the cheerful voice returned to the line. “Well, Mrs. Southard, you are in luck. We have a number available for you. It’s part of an eight-party line.”
“You are kidding, right?” Barbara asked, her shock reverberating through the phone wires.
The once friendly voice, tinged now with an indignant edge, announced again how fortunate she was, reluctantly tossing in a piece of good news. “Your ring will be two short and one long, and you will only hear it and three others on your half on the line.” Conveniently left out of the good news was the fact that all seven of the other parties could easily listen to our conversations simply by picking up their receiver. We suspected that on occasion, that might have happened.
Over two years later, twentieth century phone service finally arrived to our home in the woods in the guise of a two party line.
If you’d like to read more about our adventures, let me know and I’d be happy to share them.