Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Skelly Station

In my hometown, across the Lincoln Highway from my grandmother's café ( See West End Cafe post) was the Skelly Station. I remember the ice house that was on the south side of the station. I remember seeing the ice tongs pick up the huge blocks of ice. I don't know if the ice was for us but probably.  I suppose we had an ice box before we had a refrigerator. I remember the water bucket and ladle in our kitchen so I guess we had no running water. I remember getting indoor plumbing. That was a big event!

But back to the Skelly Station. Grandma's café sat on the southwest corner of the intersection. The Mobile Station was across the street to the north and the Skelly station to the east. This intersection had lots of activity because it was a great stopping place for truckers and long distant drivers as well as the locals.  Nina's West End Cafe drew a usual crowd and was known near and far.  I once heard truckers like to stop there because her food was very good.

However, I never got to meet anyone famous who was crossing the country. That honor went to my classmate whose father ran the Skelly Station across the highway. One day for "telling time" she told this story.

Hop-a-long Cassidy stopped in at the gas station. Her dad got to see him and talk to him. Wow! In those days, there wasn't anyone more famous in our 10 year old worlds. Well, maybe Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, but it just depended on who you liked best. For me, it was Hop-a-long Cassidy. And he was in our town! And my friend's dad talked to him. Life was good, but I was just a little jealous.

Recently I learned that one of the items in the station that most amazed travelers from the coasts was the telephone that hung on the wall. It was just like the one used on the T.V. show Lassie. When most of the country had gone to dial, we still used the old fashioned system. In fact, I often think we might have been about the last place in the state not to mention the country that hadn't gone modern.

To make a call, you turned the crank to reach the local telephone operator. Ours was Mable and sometimes Martha, but most people remember Mable. Her husband owned the phone company. There were rules. For example, you never called anyone after 10:00 p.m. I don't know if or where these rules were written, but still everyone obeyed them. No one wanted to make Mable mad. She could be a big help too. Sometimes when someone in the family was trying to reach a particular number and Mable knew where the people were, she would transfer this information.

I still remember my phone number from the sixty. It was 8 on 6. Then, we moved and the number was 121 on 1.  Our phone would ring a long, two shorts, and a long. I don't remember the ring from our first phone.  My best friend lived in town so her number was 149, not a party line.  Lucky. She could call out anytime. On a party line one had to make sure no one else was on the line.  When I was in high school, there were a number of kids on Line One. We would set a time and everyone would pick up the receiver on their own phone at the same time. We could have a conference call. We were ahead of the times, for sure.

Memories are fun. It seems like one leads to another.

1 comment:

  1. I love stories about our own days and years gone by. My aunt and uncle were on a party line at their lake camp. I still remember two short rings meant run for the phone. :)