Saturday, March 27, 2010
Several Protest the Removal of Cloverdale's Last Rotary Dial Phone.
It was a sad day in Cloverdale Thursday last when service technicians from Confederacy Telephone and Telegraph (CTandT) pulled up in front of Cloverdale’s only laundry mat ‘The Kleen-0-matic" in their blue and white van. They sat in their van and waited for the village Constable to arrive. He was scheduled to meet them at 8:00 A.M. sharp to handle crowd control but got distracted by a hot sticky bun and cup of coffee at the Moss Wonderland Bakery. CTandT was worried their removal of Cloverdale’s last surviving coin operated rotary dial pay phone, hanging on the wall of the Kleen-o-matic since 1942, would illicit angry mob action. Threats were issued against CTandT by phone and by letter when news of the phone’s removal was published in the Confederacy Times three days earlier.
“Future Shock” read the headline in the newspaper. The well researched article documented the history of the phone from his construction to its installation. The article included quoted several stories from the village’s oldest citizens telling of the times they used the phone.
“I used that phone back in 1953 when I discovered I had a flat tire on my 51 Buick. I had a load of laundry in the trunk and no way to get it home. Luckily, because of that phone I was able to call the service station on Highway 1 for help, and someone was there within the hour. I’ll never forget what that phone did for me.” wrote Preston Guardly of 32 Whispering Pines Way.
“I used that phone in 1963 to call for an ambulance when Mrs. Daftly Spears collapsed to the floor while drying a load of laundry in our heavy duty big load dryer. She was going into labor. I panicked, being the only one in the laundry at the time. I picked up that very phone and got her the help she needed, mind you, it arrived shortly after the baby arrived, but got there it did,” wrote Miston Trump of 443 Lazy Day Way in Cloverdale.
The newspaper article contained nearly a dozen essays from people that urged CTandT to leave the phone on the Laundry mat’s wall as a reminder of better days long past.
The next day CTandT took out a full page ad in the Confederacy Times explaining the need to modernize Cloverdale’s outdated phone service, starting by making everyone switch to push button digital phones.
“You wouldn’t want your dentist or surgeon to use equipment from the 1940’s on you would you? Then why do you want to continue to use a communication device built from the same time? Be Modern. Be Cool. Be Well Liked in the Village. Switch to touch tone dialing and cut your dial time in half” read the text above a picture of an old rotary phone and the newest model of touch tone phones offered in the CTandT catalog.
Three people arrived to protest the removal on the appointed day. They held signs comparing Niles Leery, Charmian of CTandT, to Hitler and Stalin. The CTandT representatives watched and waited nervously in the van, hoping the three wouldn't get violent. At 8:32 A.M. Constable Truly arrived. He shooed the rude threesome away from the door so the men could enter and do the job.
CTandT repairman have been back every day to repair the damage done to the new touch tone pay phone. The laundry mat’s costumers have found new ways to protest, by jamming fake coins into the phone’s receivers.
“The future is sometimes difficult to comprehend because it is in the future and things in the future will be different than things today,” said the Chairman of CTandT in an interviewed aired on Cloverdale Weekend Television two days ago. “I urge the unhappy citizens of Cloverdale to live for the future and embrace change,” he concluded.
Today things at the Kleen-o-matic have calmed somewhat. Mrs. Maple Thorpe was the only protester yesterday. She held a sign that read “Down with the Future” while she did her laundry and watched her soaps on the 12 inch black and white TV handing from the ceiling, one of the little extra perks one finds at the Kleen-o-matic.
CTandT was right. Given time the people of Cloverdale would get use to touch tone phones. Given time this little village on the edge of somewhere and nowhere would find its way into the future.
But not quite today. Maybe Tomorrow.......