If you took a look at the post for yesterday… you were looking at this very same area… where there were only three “OPERATORS” working. This PHOTO is the “DAY TIME OPERATORS” covering the switchboard – – but this switchboard is five (5) times the length that you see here.
Would you believe that this photo is over sixty years old – – – as you can tell by the length of the skirts on the Chief Operator, Mrs Quirk – – the lady with the white fringe around the bottom of her skirt and I can not remember the name of the other lady standing – and can not remember what for sure her tittle was – – could be something “assistant” – – as there were several that would plug in with the Operator… checking how well you were handling the calls – – if you were answering the customers with the correct information – – and also if you were over-lapping and most importantly the way that you held your pencil – – in the correct way … so as not to put the eye out of the OPERATOR that would be sitting next to you.
Before I started working for the “Telephone Co.” – – no one had ask to take PHOTOS” of the girls working at the switchboard – – but I just thought that I would like to remember those I was working with and what the place looked like. So… I had to get special permission – – and was to stand so many feet away from the switchboard – – since we just finished WWII – – and communications sites needed to be protected against any enemy of America. Today I have seen several MOVIES that have photos of similar systems – – and they are up close with lots of detail – – and also TODAY – – I’ll bet that everything is so much different and so updated – – just a whole different ballpark!
When ever you get to talking with ex-operators that did work for the Telephone Co., – ask them – – “How many times did you quit – – and then later returned to work for the Telephone Co.,”?” – – and another question to ask – “WHAT states and cities did you work?” I believe that I am the only one that worked five (5) different times – – was working at the St.Louis Toll office when President Kennedy was shot – – the switchboard immediately lit up like a Christmas Tree. Also … transferred to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Florida – – and work at an office in Illinois and several in St.Louis areas. One thing that helps is that you will be at the work place every hour that you are scheduled and willing to work Holidays and any and all over-time when you might be needed.
Back in the day… I would tell people… “Just dial “O” for “OPERATOR” – – you just may reach me… as your OPERATOR – – with that smile in her voice!”
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