Updated: Jun 20, 2021
Us kid's who grew up in Akron in the early 60's, before smartphones, had to carry around a tiny personal phone book to keep track of all of our various contacts.
This was back when the numbers started with 2 letters. Mine was HE 4. It stood for Hemlock.
Who remembers getting their hair caught in the coiled phone cord while holding the receiver between your ear and shoulders. And, having to wait for the rotary dial to circle back before dialing next digit. Thanks to a quirk of the old analog system, savvy phone customers had access to “chat lines” long before that term was coined. Beginning in the mid-1960s, the Bell System started implementing their new Electronic Switching System, this took time, and during that lengthy and elaborate process, the modern switches were installed parallel to the old mechanical devices already in place.
The cool part, there was a glitch created so that when a circuit overloaded, people could talk to one another either between the beeps of a busy signal, or during the spaces between a repeating “Your call could not be completed as dialed” recording.
It didn’t take long for young kids to exploit this easy and if not crowded way to talk to a whole bunch of people. The key was that a lot of people had to dial the same number in order to properly overload the circuit. The phenomenon was called different things in different locales—the Jam Line, the Beep Line, and the Pipeline. For me it turned out to be the Dating line.
My buddy Mark "Woody" Woodford and I got on the line one day and shouted our way to a blind date. We yelled just enough to these two girls that they finally agreed to meet us at the Civic Theater in downtown Akron. We had dates. This was the original dating forum.
We were only 12, so my Mom had to drop us off, and our dates being 11 rode the bus in from Firestone Heights, so grown up like. We didn't score too many points. We did however buy some popcorn and candy to share and I even put my arm around her shoulder. The year was 1962 and the movie was "Mutiny on the Bounty".
Who knew about bases. I hit a home run!
We parted with promises to try to reconnect!??!
I guess they did not want us to put them in our little black books.
Do you remember that innocence of youth? Better yet, who remember going to the fabulous Akron Civic Theater.
If you were there, at any age, please share your best memories with us.
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