Posts tagged: slice answers
Let's pick up where today's print column left off.
“My cat, Ed, was smart enough and fast enough to figure out how to catch a hummingbird last summer,” wrote Karen Mobley. “Unfortunately, it got stuck and I had to do the Heimlich to get the beak out before he choked to death.”
Let that be a lesson to you, Ed. Stop killing birds.
“Several years ago, I had a cat with an injured leg,” wrote Cathy McCoy. “We babied and fussed over that cat for several days until, one day, we noticed that she was limping on the wrong leg. Of course, if she had been truly smart she would have been limping on the leg that had been injured.”
Maybe she thought switching legs would earn her even better treatment.
“Every morning I get up and do some exercises which include bending over and touching the floor,” wrote Ken Otteman. “Mittens the cat comes from wherever she is in the house and stretches and rolls over each time I touch the floor. If I do not rub her back she gives me a look and a mew. When I get down on the floor to do roll-ups and push-ups she is right there waiting for her back, chin and ear rub. How many people have an exercise coach cat?”
Usually their role as personal trainers involves demonstrating how to take power naps.
“Lilly knocks on doors when she wants in,” wrote Becky Rainer.
And she knocks on her humans when she wants out.
“I think my cat should be considered the smartest cat ever just for the fact that she lived for 23 years,” wrote Marilyn Frei. “I finally had to put Kev down earlier this year after she had a spinal stroke. She spent the first 11 years of her life on a farm where she had to outsmart coyotes, cattle, tractors and trucks. After moving to Spokane she had to learn how to be a city (mostly indoor) cat. Kev had a unique instinct to be a comforter and companion for me following several surgeries and during any illness or injury. At these times she would stay by my side all day and all night, sleeping on my bed or snuggling with me on the couch or in a chair. Other times she was aloof and kept to herself. I miss her.”
That's not the first time I have heard that some felines seem to know when they are needed.
“Our cat Lisette is 13 years old,” wrote Michelle Batten. “Every evening while we are watching TV she wakes up and comes into the room and jumps up on the arm of the sofa beside my husband. She puts both paws on his shoulder and then strokes his face with her right paw until he gets up and gives her some wet food. She has been doing this for several years. She is good.”
Sounds like she has her routine down pat.
“Our cat Maow is smart because he is curious, knows when it's time to eat, and when to rest up for his next adventure,” said Steve Powers.
Sounds like a pretty good schedule.
“Hairy, one of two resident cats, is smart enough,” wrote Ellen Sherriffs. “He's smart enough to have a position with excellent benefits and a better retirement package than my own. All he has to do is smell like a cat to deter the garden mice from moving in. The balance of his day is spent sleeping on his face.”
Another good schedule.
“My 17-year-old kitty could retrieve the ball and meow with the ball in her mouth,” wrote Gale O'Connor. “She also could walk with us down to the lake and back up with us, which was about one mile. Many sweet memories of her.”
Back in the early 1980s, Mae Greenwood once walked door-to-door at night, soliciting donations for a charity. Her husband had to stay home with an infant. So Mae took her dog on a leash.
“At the second or third home I noticed that my cat, Smokey, was walking along with us. Many neighbors commented on my protectors and were amazed that Smokey sat and waited on their porch and then walked off with the dog and me to the next house. He was a very smart and devoted cat.”
Marilyn Courrier's cat, Shadow, once went inside the neighbor's house, which also has a pet door. The guy who lived there noticed Shadow in his kitchen. “Our neighbor says the cat looked at him, looked at the closed cat door, looked at him and bounded to the cat door, nudged the door up with his nose and leaped through the flap to freedom.”
So do cats form the thought, “I'm bustin' outta here”?
Perhaps with a bit of keyboarding help, a cat named Grady sent an email to The Slice noting that he was smart enough to adopt John and Ruth Williams after a previous owner dumped him beside a dirt road. “Today I live the Life Riley,” said Grady.
If only all pets were so lucky..
Here's a sampling of responses to the question about how many people still use paper highway maps.
“We just returned from a 4,100 mile trip to Iowa and Indiana and yes, we used paper maps all the way,” wrote Jerry Hargitt. “We do have a GPS that we keep handy in a bag in case we need it, but we didn't. When I plan a new trip, I get out my collection of paper maps. Nothing else will do.”
“I always keep AAA highway maps in my car (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, BC and Alberta), but my husband doesn't,” wrote Sharon Forsyth. “Neither of us have vehicles with satellite navigation systems, but we both have smart phones. Problem is, there's miles and miles of country in these parts that are out of cell range. Never fails that when we lose cell range and need a map, we're in my husband's car.”
“I've been with friends who have GPS devices and it has steered us off course several times,” wrote Janet Culbertson. “I'll take my old, torn, paper, fold-up over that thing-a-ma-jig any time.”
“We have a box full of maps down in the basement,” wrote Jeri Hershberger. “I refuse to get a GPS. I do not want to take away my ability to read a map. That is a long-lost art, just like thank-you notes.”
“I love maps,” wrote Mary Shelly. “I have 39 folding maps.”
“I would guess that most folks my age still use the folded up highway maps, as I do,” wrote retiree Bill Mahaney. “I remember when they were free at any gas station…Online maps, however, are quite useful for very specific directions within a city.”
“I still use fold-up maps,” wrote Terry Martin. “Neither my husband nor I have a 'smart' phone, and I don't trust online maps on the computer.”
“Each October when we prepare to leave for the winter in Mesa, Ariz., I pick up new maps at the AAA office for Idaho, Montana, Utah and Arizona,” wrote Sherry Bye. “With fine point pen, I mark every motel, restaurant and gas station that we frequent for the 1,400 mile trip.”
“I appreciate using a computer map and its directions,” wrote Laura Prewitt. “But it's just not as satisfying as seeing all the ways to get someplace.”
“My grandmother, who is well into her 80s, considers maps nearly an art form,” wrote Keri Whittekiend.
“I still love highway maps and always use them on trips,” wrote Patricia Gaver.
“I love a good paper map,” wrote Lois Farnsworth-Whysong. “I do use Google maps once in a while if I need specific directions like to the Hampton Inn in Walla Walla, but overall I rely on paper maps.”
“My friend, Bernice, and I just returned from a 3,400 mile trip to Arizona,” wrote Mary Johnson. “We started with a new, beautiful paper map. She had to retire it because of all the new openings in the various folds. But it did us well there and back.”
There were more, but you get the idea.
Let's wrap this up with a report from Slice reader Jan Goss.
“We were traveling back from Seattle after our first cruise. As soon as we approached eastern Washington, it was clear that much of it was on fire. Huge billows of smoke filled the skies near Ellensburg.
“As we have friends who lived in one of the canyons nearby, we decided to drive up the highway to see if they were in trouble and needed help. After a few miles of driving, a state trooper whizzed past us and proceeded to close the highway in front of us. I happened to be driving and drove off the shoulder to a level place to park and get a better view before turning around. Immediately, we were accosted by people in other cars who had no maps and no idea how to reach their destinations other than this particular highway.
“We had to chuckle as we drew diagrams and handed out paper maps to help them.”
Today's column asked readers if they have had a flag stolen.
Ray Dickelman, who lives in the South Perry neighborhood, had an answer.
“We have had five flags stolen in over 20 years.”
“The best was Bob Dylan with Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, 1987 tour,” wrote Bob Witte of Sandpoint. “Worst was Joe Cocker. It was in a small club and he threw up on stage. I've been trying to forget it ever since.”
Darlene Brice said the concert she enjoyed most was in the early summer of 1964, in San Bernardino, Calif. The Rolling Stones opened for The Righteous Brothers.”Both groups delivered a great concert but the Rolling Stones rocked the house. I became a Rolling Stones fan at that long-ago event.”
Laura Parker puts Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin shows, both in San Francisco, at the top of her list.
“The worst concert? That has to be the recent Cowboy Junkies concert that I had won tickets for through NPR. I had heard of the band but had never heard their music. So while my friend and I were trying in vain to get into their style of music we had behind us the concert-goers from hell. You know these people. They sit right behind you and talk loudly through all the songs while striking their feet against your chair backs enumberable times. Oh, and at one point this gal takes off her shoes and drapes her stocking feet over the arm of the chair next to me. Really! We left shortly after intermission when it seemed like the female lead singer had just shot heroin or chugged a bottle of whiskey or took some sleeping pills or all three as she proceeded to lay her head over her arm and microphone stand and sing really sl-o-o-o-o-w.”
Dirk Stratton had an idea about what I could have said to the little boy across the street who asked me if I was a stranger.
“Yes, I am a stranger, because are we not all strangers to one another? Can anyone honestly say, and even more so, honestly believe that any of us can hope to fathom the mysteries that dwell beneath the facile masks all humans wear to fend off the terror of existence? And are we not, in the end, strangers to our very selves? Do not our own thoughts, feelings, and actions remain so incomprehensible as to render Socrates' famous dictum 'Know thyself' a sad charade, a pitiful flag we wave in a futile attempt to pretend that insight is possible, that understanding is achievable, that life makes sense, despite the fact that the only evidence we have that something we call 'the self' even exists is flimsy, contradictory, ineffable, lost? So, yes, I am a stranger, and might I ask in return, one stranger to another, Who might you be?”
Check out a few other suggestions in Thursday's Slice.
“My back yard chef is working on his Bud Light,” wrote Alice Spray.
“I know I'm a little late to the game, especially since The Slice today said No More Pets on the Bed (items),” wrote Karyn Christner.
“My Yu kitty was due to have babies any day so I set up a nice 'nest' next to the bed for her. Middle of the night something wakes me up. Something wet on my head. Yes, a freshly-delivered kitten.
“Have that with your morning coffee, Lynda Post of Moscow!”
Now, now. Let's play nice.
A reader told about getting in the trunk of a car with some friends who were sneaking into a drive-in movie years ago.
Before it was over, she had kicked loose the back seat of the car.
Here are a few more answers to the question about readers discovering that they were/are claustrophobic.
“Back in the late 1970s we were trying to get our son Wesley to do an MRI,” wrote Ken Stout. “He was scared of it and I volunteered to slide in to show him how safe it was. I told them in no uncertain terms to slide me back out.”
Jeffrey Neuberger never thought of himself as claustrophobic. An MRI forced him to reassess.
Ray Blowers recalled a different sort of experience. “It happened eons ago when I was just a tot, but I still shudder when the frightening episode comes back to me. It had to do with a discarded area rug on our front porch. Some neighborhood bullies decided to roll me up in it just for laughs. I was hysterical by the time my mother rescued me.”
Barbara Lee was touring a network of caves in South Africa in 1970. “You were supposed to go down one part of the cave, go through a tube (a very small tube) and come back up the other side. I was certain I was stuck in the tube and would never see the light of day again. Needless to say, a great deal of panic ensued and I have NEVER been back in a cave since.”
Diane Newcomer was about 11 when visiting a series of caves in Oregon. “We came to a place where the guide told us it was our last chance to leave the tour. I stayed, being too shy to leave my parents. To this day, I think I made the wrong choice.”
Medical Lake's Douglas Jasmer shared this. “We were driving in Austria and entered the Arlberg tunnel. I don't know how long it was but because it had a couple of curves you could not see the other end. I had this feeling of it pressing down on us. I had to get out. The feeling left when I could see the opening coming up. We took another route back to our hotel.”
Once on a camping trip, Julie Prafke was sleeping in the back of a covered pickup truck. “I was sleeping next to the cab of the truck with our daughters in the middle and my husband on the outside. Sometime during the night I awoke to find myself wedged against the wall with no clearance on either side of me and the roof right above my head. I thought I'd been buried alive.”
Getting stuck by herself on an elevator in England helped Debbie Kitselman realize confined spaces were not her cup of tea.
And Bridget Freeman learned a lesson when she was a small child. “My many older siblings and I used to play a really stupid sort of tag in our basement on cement floors. We put zipped sleeping bags over our heads and proceeded to bounce off one another like bumper cars. Because I was the smallest, I always fell down first and became the bottom of the so-called dog pile. My palms are beginning to sweat and my heart rate is elevating even as I type these words!
“It was a terrible experience to be buried under five or six sleeping bag-clad bodies for what seemed like an eternity. The experience did teach me to be able to talk myself down while being stuck in enclosed spaces such as MRI tubes and airplanes. Nothing has ever been as bad as those childhood experiences and I simply remind myself of that.”
The “… and I vote” fill-in-the-blank item prompted Gary Rust to write.
“I saw it on a bumper sticker and now have it on our refrigerator: 'We live in Hillyard and we voat.'
“We have community pride but we also have a sense of humor.”
Slice answers: Lots of people, we're told, refer to the Lilac City as “The Can.”
And we've decided that it would be a good name for a TV show. Or a hair style. Or better yet, a newspaper column.
“Hey, did you read in 'The Can' that some old lady in Hillyard brushes her cat twice a day?”
“You don't say.”
Here are a few that did not make it into today's print column.
“Five Mile Prairie desperately needs STA bus service.” — Donna Stovall
“As an ardent yard-saler and estate saler, I believe Spokanites should have orange cones atop their cars (much like student drivers) indicating we will be stopping suddenly, U-turning, slowing down to read signs and other erratic driving behavior in our fight to find great deals.” — Tracie Swanson
“I suggest that Spokane create a campaign to promote library use and encourage people of all ages to read.” — Stacy Carlson
“Spokane should establish a Port District.” — Ken Flint
“For 30 days preceding a general election, your masthead should include 'The general election will be followed by a peaceful transition of power, hallelujah.'” — Edward Sawatzki
“I suggest you start a movement to get Halloween switched from October 31st to the last Saturday in October of each year, thereby saving parents from having to send exhausted, sugar-overloaded kids to school the following day, and also allowing for the gracious homeowners who still pass out candy to not have to face the ringing doorbell the second they walk in from work.” — Lauren Loutzenhiser
“As a way of saying 'Thank you' to all their loyal supporters who don't have the opportunity or funds to purchase season tickets at the McCarthey Athletic Center, GU men's basketball should play one conference game per year in the Spokane Veteran's Memorial Arena with tickets ranging in price from $5-$30, and sold on a first-come/first-serve basis to everyone.” — Bonita Roach
“How about building a wildlife underpass (a la U.S. Highway 95 at Athol, in North Idaho) that would start at Nine Mile and funnel only wolves up to the Canadian border where they can be returned back to their native home.” — Debbie Cross
“My suggestion is that all graduating seniors go to military boot camp (perhaps a short version of 2-4 weeks), because believe me, it will make an adult out of you who has values, is hard working and loves our country.” — Kimberly Madore
“Agree to disagree.” — Cheryl Lugar
“I suggest that everyone live by this motto: 'If there is anything virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy, seek after those things.'” — Nancy Chevigny-Dahlke
“I suggest that you write an article on studless snow tires, how good they are and how they would save our roads.” — David Randall
“End War.” — Nick Britz
“For one month, examine carefully those in your life who have given in extraordinary proportions to family, friends and community and emulate that type of caring to those you know and to those you have not yet met.” — Lori McElhaney
“Have police officers who 'salute' disgraced Officer Thompson wear a special badge so that the average citizen can know which specific officers to sneer at (perhaps ZEHM with red slash across).” — Leonard Butters
“I have a list of suggestions for used campaign signs: Their waterproofness and plastic coating makes them ideal for sledding, they make great walls for snow forts, they make great covers for RV tires so they don't get sunburned, they can also be used to build dog shelters.” — Gail Neidhold
“Spokane unites as a community (non-profits, business and individuals), buys a piece of property in Detroit and builds a business on it, while challenging other communities across the country to do the same.” — Darrin Coldiron
“We need to develop a new tree that drops its leaves or needles in neat piles equal to the size of a large sized leaf bag.” — Kasey Kramer
“Language translator app on smartphone or iPad could be used in an emergency room to solve communication problems.” — Roger Chase
“In any given basketball game, the height of each team's basket would be adjusted according to a yet-to-be-determined formula based on the average hieght of the players who played in that team's previous game.” — Charlotte Thacker
“I suggest that a TAB key be added to the right side of the computer keyboard by the 10-key number pad.” — Mae Greenwood
“My suggestion is a non-profit charity like Union Gospel Mission set up a website to sell 'unable to use' GU basketball tickets.” — Jack Haley
“I think you should write about my father-in-law, Dan Hite.” — Kimberly Roadruck
“Since winter is coming, Randy Shaw needs to get a perm and Tom Sherry should grow a beard.” — Val Maciver
“My suggestion is for me — Dawber Mushmouse — to be the first ever Marmot to win free (GO) Zags tickets!” — Marlene Humphrey
“Raffle off the Zags and Zagettes (all of them, coaches included) as FRIEND FOR THE DAY and donate money to charity of their choice.” — Jo Anna Stanger
“Stop hiring California cowboy cops that move to North Idaho like Kry Baby Thompson and Hair Trigger Hirzel.” — Kathy Wright
“My suggestion would be that every community had a citizenry and elected officials enlightened enough to make recycling a viable enterprise.” — Charlotte Applegate
“The banks that own the foreclosed homes should somehow assist with housing those displaced by Hurricane Sandy.” — Vikki Sawyer
“I would put up an extra pedestrian crossing light at Lincoln/Main so pedestrians would not be crossing on a green light for northbound Monroe traffic.” — Mike Kraft
“My suggestion would be to have school zone lights at every school.” — Linda Hempel
“How about you continue the suggestion offer, so more of us old gomers who can't sleep on the frozen ground in the ticket line have a chance to go to a Zags game.” — Bruce Hunt
“Never be too busy to make time for family…sitting down at the table for dinner together, snuggling and reading at bedtime, and caring about your child's education.” — Mary Griffith
“Give an incentive to a business owner to open a quilt shop in downtown Spokane.” — Nancy Harris
“To best reflect changing times, and tastes, I suggest renaming the Maple Street Bridge to the Bacon and Maple Street Bridge.” — Rich Williams
“My suggestion so that I can win your GU basketball tickets is that elementary math teachers use a method that I used when teaching how to divide fractions.” — Gary Rust
“Many trendy, eclectic and exciting small restaurants and businesses are popping up in downtown Spokane, so let's take steps to create a safe, clean and inviting city center and MOVE THE STA!” — Angela Poole
“We suggest that everyone donate what they would spend at Starbucks for one day to the Spokane Symphony — they are an awesome group of musicians.” — Bruce and Sandy Colquhoun
There were more. But I suggest we wrap this up.
“Your phone courtesy stories instantly brought to mind an incident involving my younger brother years ago, when we were all kids at home,” wrote Jill Simon. “He answered the phone and when the person on the other end asked for someone who did not live at our residence, my brother, Bill, said, 'No, he's not here and he never will be.'”
Bob Worley suggested a few more themed street names for a residential develiopment.
“Star Trek” theme:
“I'm very proud to be able to tell people they have been married for 67 years.” — Janice Holcomb
“My mom raised seven kids, and washed and ironed church linens. She was a wonderful 'Church Lady.' My dad was at Normandy Beach, earned several awards and medals.” — Charlotte Applegate
“My mom was the first female building manager in Portland, managing a 15-story high rise. This was in the early 70s. Her motto was 'Don't wait for your ship to come in…swim out after it.'” — Nancy Kiehn
“What did I tell people about my mother? She won $1,000 in a fundraising raffle for the little hospital in her small town. When they handed her the check she said, 'Thank you very much. Now here's a donation for the fund,' and she handed it back to the president of the group.” — Susie Schmidt
“I didn't thank them enough for their love, concern, and sacrifices in helping me grow up.” — Bill Dropko
“My father served with the Marines during the war. He and another Marine became good freinds. They made a pact that if one of them didn't make it home, the survivor would look up his family. Well, his friend, Frank, didn't make it. When my father was released from the hospital from injuries he had sustained, he made the trip from his home in Ohio to Frank's in Philadelphia. And that is how he met my mother.” — Mary Shelly
“I tell people my mother and her siblings were orphaned. Mom was 12, and the oldest, and sent to a Lutheran childrens home in Twin Valley, Minnesota. My dad rode the rails and played pool for pocket money.” — Patsy Wood
“My mother always looked for the good in everyone, My dad always expected everyone to like him. And you know, they were seldom, if ever, disappointed.” — Joan Gemmrig
“My dad married my mom when she had three kids, me and my two brothers. Circumstances were that he had to quit his job and move us all to another state. From the first day we were HIS kids, he adopted us as quickly as possible and never received a cent in child support though he had to start a new job. No wonder I loved him and am so grateful for making my life wonderful.” — Wendy Pemberton
“Re: What do you tell people about your parents? It is not their fault.” — Gary Polser
“We always get a kick out of letting medical personnel know that my 80-year-old mother, Lasca, who lived on Mingo Mountain above Kettle Falls until recently, is a great whitetail deer hunter. She has bagged a big buck most of the past 30 years and has five trophy neck or shoulder mounts to prove it. We take pictures to the doctors. She has been 'enjoying' poor health for a number of years, and everyone is impressed by her story.” — Susan Johnson
“My mom just turned 89 and is doing well. When I took her for her yearly physical last month, she said, 'What am I going to tell the doctor? I don't even have a hangnail.'
“She's pretty slow these days, but still walks her dog every day in Manito Park They toddle along very slowly, Duffy stopping frequently to check 'pee mail' and Mom stopping to admire the trees. She blesses them and those who planted them.
“Our family used to have summer reunion campouts at Lake Roosevelt. On our last day there the year my mom was 75, we were assembled at the shore so the boys could knee board one more time before we all piled into our cars and headed out.
“My mom, watching the kids having so much fun, announced she'd like to give that knee board thing a try. So she did! My brother-in-law pulled her out onto the lake in a wide arc as all of us on the shore hooted and hollered at her pluck. It's one of my fondest memories because it shows her amazing spirit of fun, and willingness to throw herself into life without thinking twice.” — Ann Fennessy
“Both of my parents are dead but I still talk about my dad to people. I sometimes say. 'They named a huge sports complex after him because he championed physical fitness before anyone else did.'
“Every now and then I hear some TV college basketball commentators say '…And here we are at the Stephen C. O'Connell Complex at the University of Florida…', accompanied by the appropriate fly-over view so one can appreciate its huge footprint on the campus. I put my sewing down for a moment and say, 'Hi, Dad.'” — Denise Marcum
Jerry Ito saw the Slice column reference to backyard cookouts that create so much smoke neighbors wonder if your house is on fire.
“I've got one better,” wrote Ito, a Davis, Calif., resident in Spokane visiting family. “Our charcoal grill put out so much smoke one time that a firefighter from the nearby fire station came by to check on us.”
I assume they offered him or her something to eat.
I enjoyed the following note from Paul Baxter.
“In Monday's column you asked if there were any kind of soreness that people in your office regarded as too personal to discuss.
“I don't work in an office. I have spent most of my adult life outside working construction or demolition. Call me old school in that I will be eligible for Social Security in a few years.
“Myself and other old schoolers adhere to an unwritten law of not admitting to pain of any type and working through it.
“However, the younger people starting out in the business are more than willing to talk about the subject. In fact they are quite willing to show you the site of the pain. As a result I have seen body parts I didn't know it was possible to pierce or tattoo.”
Jack Thompson, 79, said he would summon Beyonce to be his starter companion.
Bill Miner said that, as far as female companionship, he would be OK with “The first one in line.”
And Curt OIsen wondered, “Would I tell her that I have had a vasectomy?”
Slice reader Lori Goldade saw the question about dealing with losing your hair.
“My husband and I were attending the PRCA rodeo in Pocatello, Idaho, when the rodeo announcer and the rodeo clown were bantering back and forth. The announcer challenged the clown to take off his hat. When he did, the announcer made a comical comment about his obvious lack of hair under the hat.
“The clown responded, 'Hey, anyone can grow hair, but it takes a real man to be able to suck it back in!'”
“I remember growing up with a 10-party phone line on Five Mile Prairie,” wrote Phyllis Rollins. “The ring for our home was four shorts. You had to listen carefully before answering as we also heard all the other rings.”
“Our ring was two longs and a short,” wrote Steven Stuart. “Or two shorts and a long. I forget which.”
“No privacy,” said Marjorie Carper.
“The Facebook of its time,” wrote Gary Rust.
“I grew up in Utah (Ogden, west of the city in farm country),” wrote Barb Beck. “My dad worked for the Southern Pacific RR (as an engineer) and the telephone was the way he got his calls to go to work. One of the families on our party line was Italian. When they would call another Italian family, they would talk in Italian and nothing we said or did could make them get off the phone.”
Karen Botker said her husband grew up with a party line in rural Minnesota. “His family consisted of eight people, the neighbors were a family of nine, there was another family of 11, another family of eight, another family of 14 and an older couple. I believe that adds up to 52 people sharing one phone line.”
An 85-year-old Slice reader named Pat recalled that her grandparents in the Silver Valley had a party line. “And my dad's younger sisters listened in.”
Ken Stout, who is 62, remembers not having a phone at all when his family lived in Lewistown, Mont. Then they moved to Spokane and had a party line until he was about 18.
Laurie Newell's family had a party line when she was a kindergartener in Seattle in the mid-1950s. “You couldn't call the person you shared a line with unless you went through the operator.”
“I remember picking up the phone to make a call and hearing the neighbors chatting,” wrote Arlene Stromberger.
Jean Brustkern grew up with a party line in Iowa. She recalls how, if you were on the line and someone in another household picked up the phone, you could hear a distinct clicking sound. “You always knew when someone came on the line.”
Pam Thompson recalls being baffled by a phone company employee's comment at the end of the party-line era. He said, “Now, when the phone rings, it will always be for you.”
Thompson misunderstood. “My husband will never receive a phone call? There will never be a wrong number?”
“I have done surprise parties twice,” wrote Marie Scott.
“The first was for my husband when he turned 60. I did as much as I could ahead of time and on the day I 'went to work as usual.' What I actually did was go to my daughter's house and bake the cake and get everything set up and then went home at the normal time.
“My daughter had invited us to 'dinner' at her house, so at the appropriate time we went over and voila, a surprise party.
“The second was when my daughter was turning 30 and my dad was turning 80 within 10 days of each other. I invited them to each other's party along with some of their own friends. They both came expecting it to be for the other until they saw who was showing up. It was quite fun and my dad especially still talks about it eight months later.”
Sandpoint's Ann Gehring shared this.
“My husband and my friend's husband both have birthdays in December (same age within three days). Their 65th was approaching but my friend (and husband) were going to be in southern latitudes by December. So we threw a surprise party in October.”
It worked. They were surprised.
Finally, here's something from Larry Hodge of Moscow.
“I've never felt that a surprise party on one's birthday was a good idea,” he wrote. “It seems like no surprise is big enough to overcome the days of disappointment leading up to a birthday thinking that no one has remembered. But several years ago I attended a surprise party for a friend's 50th birthday and it seemed like everyone had such a good time.
“I asked the wife who put on the party when was the actual date of her husband's birthday. She said, 'Oh, it's not until next month.'
“What a great way to surprise without any disappointment.”