Special Feature: Poignant Story
of New York City
isn't a joke but it still is worth sharing with you. -- Raoul
When I was quite
young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighbor hood.
I remember the polished, old case fastened to the wall. The shiny receiver
hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone,
but used to listen with fascination when my mother talked to it.
Then I discovered
that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person.
Her name was 'Information Please' and there was nothing she did
not know. Information Please could supply anyone's number and
the correct time.
personal experience with the genie-in-a-bottle came one day while my
mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the tool bench in
the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer, the pain was terrible,
but there seemed no point in crying because there was no one home to
walked around the house sucking my throbbing finger, finally arriving
at the stairway. The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the footstool in
the parlor and dragged it to the landing Climbing up, I unhooked the
receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. 'Information, please'
I said into the mouthpiece just above my head. A click or two and a
small clear voice spoke into my ear.
'I hurt my finger...' I wailed into the phone, the tears came readily
enough now that I had an audience.
'Isn't your mother
home?' came the question.
'Nobody's home but
me,' I blubbered.
'Are you bleeding?'
the voice asked.
'No,' I replied.
'I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts.' 'Can you open the icebox?'
I said I could.
'Then chip off a
little bit of ice and hold it to your finger,' said the voice.
After that, I called
'Information Please' for everything. I asked her for help with
my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me
with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk that I had caught in the park
just the day before, would eat fruit and nuts.
Then, there was
the time Petey, our pet canary, died. I called, Information Please,'
and told her the sad story. She listened, and then said things grown-ups
say to soothe a child. But I was not consoled. I asked her, 'Why is
it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families,
only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?'
She must have sensed
my deep concern, for she said quietly, 'Wayne always remember that
there are other worlds to sing in.'
Somehow I felt better.
Another day I was
on the telephone, 'Information Please.'
in the now familiar voice. 'How do I spell fix?' I asked.
All this took place
in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I was nine years old,
we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much.
'Information Please' belonged in that old wooden box back home
and I somehow never thought of trying the shiny new phone that sat on
the table in the hall. As I grew into my teens, the memories of those
childhood conversations never really left me.
Often, in moments
of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security
I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she
was to have spent her time on a little boy.
few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in Seattle
. I had about a half-hour or so between planes. I spent 15 minutes or
so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking
what I was doing, I dialed my hometown Operator and said, 'Information
heard the small, clear voice I knew so well. 'Information.'
I hadn't planned
this, but I heard myself saying, 'Could you please tell me how to spell
There was a long
pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, 'I guess your finger must have
healed by now.'
I laughed, 'So it's
really you,' I said. 'I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant
to me during that time?'
I wonder,' she said,
'if you know how much your call meant to me. I never had any children
and I used to look forward to your calls.'
I told her how often
I had thought of her over the years and I asked if I could call her
again when I came back to visit my sister.
'Please do', she
said. 'Just ask for Sally.'
Three months later
I was back in Seattle . A different voice answered.
asked for Sally.
'Are you a friend?'
'Yes, a very old
friend,' I answered.
'I'm sorry to have
to tell you this,' she said. 'Sally had been working part-time the last
few years because she was sick. She died five weeks ago.'
Before I could hang
up she said, 'Wait a minute, did you say your name was Wayne ?' 'Yes.'
'Well, Sally left
a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called. Let me read
it to you.' The note said, 'Tell him there are other worlds to sing
in. He'll know what I mean.'
I thanked her and
hung up. I knew what Sally meant.
the impression you may make on others.
Whose life have
you touched today? Why not pass this on? I just did ....
Lifting you on eagle's
wings. May you find the joy and peace you long for.
ife is a journey
... NOT a guided tour. So don't miss the ride and have a great time
going around. You don't get a second shot at it.