A long time ago in a Big Sky State not far away, Jim Newcomb was a troubleshooter for Northwest Telephone Systems. In 1977. In Kalispell, to be exact.
Jim was minding his own business, when the flack for his company went bonkers as a result of a photo in the town newspaper, the Daily Inter Lake. Seems the paper’s photographer was upset the phone company had taken too long to provide a private line to his home. So, he snapped a photo of three children pretending to send up smoke signals and provided this caption: “With a long, long delay in new telephone installation, these Evergreen area youngsters may have come up with a way to communicate out there.”
The photo was published. The flack shouted. The publisher buckled. And the news editor was assigned to follow Newcomb around for a day to verify how hard the company worked for its cuss-tomers. Jim, indeed, worked hard.
Why is Huckleberries telling you this? Jim is now living in Spokane on his phone company pension and enjoying 23 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren, with two more greats on the way. Recently, he found the Sept. 15, 1977, clipping of the story filed by the paper’s news editor after their day together. And he sent this email to Huckleberries: “Thanks for being so kind to me almost 40 years ago. I will turn 78 in July and life is still great.”
Yeah, a five-year stop in Kalispell is on my resume. And, as Paul Harvey used to say, now you know the rest of the story/DFO, Saturday Huckleberries. More here.