Previous   Next

How many phone numbers do you actually know?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on August 11, 2011

Browse the archives

Photo of Austin Adolphson

“Less than five.”

Photo of Bethany Whitehurst

“Probably 10. I have to know my family. I don’t even know my roommates’.”

Photo of Zach Meyer

“I know my parents’ and my grandparents’. So two.”

Photo of Megan Meyer

“About two or three.”


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

The really cool ones date from the very early sixties and before. Those are the ones that began with two letters, an example is FE for the Federal telephone exchange in Kansas.

Later they gave up on that and it was just 33 instead. Very boring, indeed.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 8 months ago

In 1956, when my parents first moved to the house where I grew up, our phone number was CO(lfax) 2-*. Our neighbor's was CO2-. In the late '60's, a new exchange was instituted and our street was the dividing line. Our neighbor's (across the street) phone # stayed the same but ours changed to FR(anklin)5-***. It eventually got changed to 375. My parents had that same phone number for over 30 years. My aunt and uncle had a Melrose exchange. They lived in Shawnee. I remember there's as well. (I decided to blank out the numbers as I have no idea who may have those numbers now. But I do remember them.)

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

We stayed on the Federal exchange, I mean our numbers still all begin with 33, because the Federal exchange was for a small town. And today, it is even smaller, with a population of about 1,500.

And, my grandparent's telephone number from the 1950s was inherited by my younger brother. Later, he died and his widow remarried. And she still has the same phone number!

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 8 months ago

Pizza shuttle!! Isn't that required to live in Lawrence?

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 8 months ago

Aww that brings back good memories. My dad got up one morning and said, "Anybody get the license plate of that bus that hit me?" My sister said, "Yeah, BR549." We all died laughing!

RoeDapple 6 years, 8 months ago

When I was a kid back in the '50's my parent's rural party line phone was two long rings and one short. If you picked up quickly you could hear the neighbors pick up so they could listen in on your conversation. My mother would often end a call with "Okay, goodbye. You too Amy!"

When they got one of them new fangled city phones the number was originally Victor 5077. Later, about 1958, it was given a "2", Victor 2-5077.

I can also remember my draft number, original driver's license #, high school locker combination and Marylin Monroe's measurements from 1955. Never been too good about remembering names though. And current phone numbers? Forget it! Everything is stored in the phones memory now.

. . . if I can just remember whose name I put them under . . .

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

True Story: Years ago we had a party line. And, also on the party line was someone else who sometimes listened in on other people's telephone calls to amuse herself. One time my mother was trying to place a long distance call, and the eavesdropper was talking on the phone all afternoon long.

Finally my mother discovered that the phone line was free, and so she placed the call to my father. During the course of the conversation, she said to him, "I tried to call all afternoon, but *** was on the phone all day. Forgetting that she was an eavesdropper, the neighbor lady loudly exclaimed:

"I was not!"

Another True Story: This didn't happen to us, but I heard about it. There used to be a telephone operator that liked to listen in on people's phone calls.

But if you listened closely, you could tell when she was doing that.

Because you could hear her chewing gum.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 8 months ago

Static or dynamic? If you're using static, isn't that kind of "yesterday" type technology? And if it's dynamic, are you telepathic with the computer assigning it?

schula 6 years, 8 months ago

Everyone's has Jenny's number!

I think I know approximately 15 numbers.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

You should try studying languages. Maybe you would be a fantastic linguist or translator. That skill is extremely rare.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

I think there's more than one of those, so I'm not sure if the one I actually met one time is the one you are referring to or not.

somedude20 6 years, 8 months ago

Kind of reminds me of that alien from meatballs 2

check it out...I say twins!

somedude20 6 years, 8 months ago

Brown and Crouppen 777-7777 Rudy's Pizza 749-0055 My folk's number My number Work (cause we all must call-in once and a while) I know 5 which is two more than the amount of licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop

somedude20 6 years, 8 months ago

I spoke to Brian Johnson on the house phone at the Doubletree Hotel in Pittsburgh PA back in November or 1990. He was a cool chap! I guess I caught him as he was going to S,S,and S. He was like oi, mate, I'll be down in a few but first me got to shower, make number 2( not his words) and shave and then I'll be good and ready for a drink! As soon as I hung up I spotted Angus Young walking down the hallway thought he might want to toke but he wanted tea. Now, at first I thought that was code for something but no, he drinks tea. The second time I met the band (Greensboro NC) I partied hard with them. Never get in the way of BJ and his Newcastle Ale! Metallica was a different story though...

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

clipped from: In April (1992) Richard Dickinson, 25, was allowed out of prison in Hobart, Australia, with two chaperones to attend a concert by his idol, Bob Dylan. Dickinson is in a prison for the criminally insane because in 1987 when his mother told him to turn down the music he stomped her to death to the tune of Dylan's "One More Cup of Coffee" and then sprinkled instant coffee over her body. He said he thought his mom was an evil character from the song. Also in 1992, authorities in Hobart, Australia allowed killer Richard Dickinson out of prison to see his idol, Bob Dylan, perform. Dickinson had trampled his mother to death in 1987 while Dylan's "One More Cup of Coffee for the Road'' played in the background. He then sprinkled instant coffee over the body. Mom had complained the music was too loud. This item appeared in the Melbourne Sun, April 23, 1992. DYLAN TRIP FOR KILLER A man who trampled his mother to death to the accompaniment of Bob Dylan's One More Cup Of Coffee' was let out of prison for a night to see his idol at a Hobart concert. Richard Dickinson, 25, went to the April 11 concert accompanied by a prison warder and a male nurse from Risdon Jail's hospital. The outing had the blessing of the State Attorney-General, Mr Cornish, and the medical team treating Dickinson's schizophrenia, said corrective services division manager Mr Ben Marris. Dickinson killed his mother, Gladys, 59, five years ago after she complained about him playing Dylan's albumDesire' at 4am. He told police at the time he thought his mother was the evil character Isis referred to on the album and the music had given him the strength to kill her. After Dickinson killed his mother, he sprinkled instant coffee over her. Mr Marris said the concert had been the idea of psychiatrists and psychologists who said he had been responding well to treatment. "They were satisfied when he came back from the concert that it was a valuable experience, but we are now talking about the medical treatment of an individual and it's inappropriate for any more details to be revealed publicly," Mr Marris said.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

One of those last two links is not correct, and it's not worth the trouble to figure out which one.

The story is true! Amazing!

Oh, and HollisBrown? Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

bad_dog 6 years, 8 months ago

Rather than confront junior, Mom should have "put her foot down" by insisting he play something else more apropo for the moment-you know, like These Boots are Made for Walkin' by Nancy Sinatra.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago The possibility of Dickinson going mad again if Dylan had played One More Cup Of Coffee' at the concert had been given careful consideration and it was decided there was very little risk. "On top of that we ensured his family was aware of what was happening to avoid them meeting him unexpectedly and they supported the move to take him to the concert," he said. "One should note that he was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity and that this outing was an extraordinary and exceptional situation." Dickinson paid the $41 for his own concert ticket while corrective services paid for his two guards. The concert was panned by critics and fans with one long-time Dylan devotee saying she was not sure whether Dylan had playedOne More Cup Of Coffee' because all the songs had been unintelligible. From USA Today (date unknown): DYLAN OR DIE A Hobart, Australia man who trampled his mother to death to the strains of Bob Dylan's "One More Cup Of Coffee" was released from prison to see his idol perform last weekend. Richard Dickinson, 25, who was found not guilty because of insanity, was allowed to see the show because his doctors said he was responding well to treatment for schizophrenia. Dickinson killed his mother five years ago when she complained that he was playing Dylan's "Desire" album at 4 a.m.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 8 months ago

Hollis, I looked for a bridge from which to jump. They're all under repair. I was gonna do a full gainer with a big ol' can opener splash. I'll keep looking.

Roe, I remember it as 'Viking' instead of 'Victor.'

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

You could get on top of a bus that's headed underneath a low one. I understand that method can work quite well.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

There are more sheep than people in New Zealand. So, the average New Zealander would be rather sheepish. Maybe that's why they are quiet, polite, and kind of backwoodsy.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

It is sometimes good to remain low key after you've been in the news. But, it doesn't sound as though Mr. Goldman felt that way!

KansasPerson 6 years, 8 months ago

What, no one mentioned KU Info's number? Is that because no one calls it anymore? That would be the internet's fault, I guess.

Reading Hollis' comments made my entire morning.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 8 months ago

I hate when I'm late to the party. Everybody is already so far ahead of me and I have to catch up.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 8 months ago

Wilson Pickett was born March 18, 1941 in Pratville, Alabama. A little racy for me, but a nice song just the same.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

Trivial minds have trivial pursuits. That describes me very well!

Some of the time, anyway.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

I have an incredible story to tell you in person someday. And it's absolutely true, every single word, even though it sounds unbelievable. When it actually happened, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. And it went on after that, but I'm not sure I'll be willing to tell you ALL of the story.

One time I showed one of my aunts who was standing right there what had happened, and then I started to tell her more about it. But I barely got started when she started shaking and told me that she didn't want to hear any more.

To get prepared for the true story, you need to really think about this question:

How many reasonably priced two bedroom apartments with a swimming pool in the complex do you think were there in the entire state of California in 1979 that were available for rent on one particular day?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

PS: That was the only time in my life that the hairs on the back of my neck have stood up.

My aunts are living and can verify the first part of the story. As well as my roommate I had there at the time, we are still very good friends today.

But, I was alone when I called 911 about an event that happened in that apartment.

That event kept repeating, and it drove me nuts. I wasn't the only one to experience it, and something else kept happening that only my roommate experienced.

RoeDapple 6 years, 8 months ago

rockchalker52 (anonymous) says…

"Roe, I remember it as 'Viking' instead of 'Victor.'"

And you would be correct if it had been a Lawrence number but it wasn't. ( Wouldn't have posted it if it had been.)


Terry Sexton 6 years, 8 months ago

Sorry, it's just that it's Tuesday. That's when I make all of my assumptions. I just got back from the movies. I assumed the good guys would win. At least I was right about that. Nobody used any telephones

Terry Sexton 6 years, 8 months ago

really? It's Thursday. Gosh, I haven't done anything all week, so I just assumed...

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

It is easy to follow in the footsteps of another.

The only thing you need to do is make the same mistakes he does.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 8 months ago

Andini, that reminds me of something.

Back in '78, here in Lawrence, my roommate and myself had 841-6000 for a telephone number. I just now opened up one of my old college textbooks and verified that.

My roommate was Wayne Cushman, who is now deceased. We inherited that really fine telephone number from a person who was a telephone operator and had found that number was available, and somehow he was able to get it. That was before the telephone company's policy changed, after that telephone numbers that had three repeated digits were reserved for businesses. But since we already had that number, it was all right to keep it, because our telephone operator friend had passed it on to us when he moved away. The way he did that was to add a roommate's name to the listing, and then remove his own.

I kept that number and moved with it after my old roommate moved to Kansas City because it was so much fun to have it. Everyone wondered about it. And also, it was very easy to remember. It was fun to explain to people how I had gotten a number like that! And also, to point out that they would never be able to get a number like that themselves.

It was very interesting to have that number, because the telephone number for Kansas Power & Light, who was the electric provider for Lawrence and the surrounding area at that time, was 843-6000. So, we received an awful lot of calls intended for K P & L.

Being young, dumb, rude, and looking for a joke, we started answering the phone a lot of the time with: "Kansas Power and Light, may I help you?"

I remember taking a message once. I told the person, a child, that the adult woman he wanted to talk to was not available at the moment. Then after the call had ended, I called 843-6000 and relayed the message.

And whenever the electricity went out we got a lot of calls, and we assured every caller that we were certainly aware of that problem, and we were working on it.

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 8 months ago

3,mine, time&temp and Pizza shuttle.Oh, and that funny little short number for emergencies.

Houdini 6 years, 8 months ago

Hello...hello...Bess Is that you?

Are you calling me?

david_ 6 years, 8 months ago

I know my parents number, my sisters and my husbands cell phone.

Deja Coffin 6 years, 8 months ago

I actually have a really great memory so just off the top of my head I can think of 27 numbers that I have memorized.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.