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Around Town

Technology and I have both come a long way since I was a kid. And both of us have had hits and misses along the way. The first phone I remember was the one at the old LePere family home on Liberty Street where my aunt and cousin lived and I was a daily visitor. It was an old wooden wall phone where the receiver hung on a hook on the side and you spoke into a protruding black mouthpiece. I always felt it had to have been the first wall phone in the city, as the phone number was one! Not one, two or 10. Just plain old one. People were always either mystified or amused when you gave them the phone number. Usually they’d ask, one what? What fun for a kid to be able to casually say, “Oh, just one!”

When I used it, which was very rare, I had to stand on a small wooden stool kept nearby. You’d lift the receiver, place it over your ear and almost immediately a pleasant female voice would say, “Number, please.”

There was something extremely comforting about knowing you would always hear that pleasant and well modulated voice every time you lifted the receiver. She was unfailingly polite and helpful. Often, if it was our neighbor who answered, she could even tell me where my mom was if she wasn’t at home.

You didn’t have to listen to a long list of recorded instructions and yell out different numbers of words, you weren’t put on hold or asked by a recording for an extension number. Your friend the operator could always be counted on to come through with “Number. please,” and get you connected.

What a difference over the experience I had this past week! I had left my car at the dealers for some maintenance work, been driven by a courtesy car to a nearby mall, and assured they would call me on my cell phone when the work was completed and arrange to pick my friend and I up. Easy, peasy! EXCEPT it didn’t work. After waiting about two and a half hours and not hearing, I called the maintenance department…and was instructed to leave a message. I did. And waited and waited. No return call, no call saying the work was done. Another hour and I called again. Same scenario: recording, leave a message. Again, nothing. A third call, this time bypassing the maintenance number and going directly to the sales office. A live voice answered! I explained the situation and when she started to put me through to maintenance I stopped her and insisted she call them personally, while I held. She did, they answered and were a bit peeved, as they said they had been trying to call me for two hours and kept getting a recording and going to voice mail. Very peculiar, as my cell phone had never rung, vibrated or even nudged me! So, while waiting for the courtesy car to arrive, I had my friend call my cell phone on her cell phone and she got the same thing: recording and going to voice mail. Again my phone was quiet as the proverbial mouse.

When I got home I noticed I had six voice mails waiting. You guessed it. All of the calls made to my cell phone were on my landline at home. I was totally mystified. Later my son discovered my cell phone had been programmed to forward all calls to my home. How that happened I’m still trying to figure out, as I don’t even know how to redirect my cell phone calls!

Technology is great, but I miss my good old operator and her friendly “Number, please.”

Book signing…Instead of writing prescriptions this past Saturday, Dr. Paul Moniz was signing health books along with illustrator Alicia Boyer. The book signing for their children’s book titled, “The World Inside Us…The Land of Digestion” was held at a book store in a popular St. Louis mall. This is the first book the novice duo have published, but certainly not the last as Moniz already has his second book almost done. This one will be on the heart and lungs. As with the first book all of the educational information will be done in entertaining rhyme accompanied by Alicia’s charming illustrations. Kids and adults alike enjoy learning more about the world inside them. The books can be purchased at Dr. Moniz’s office at 558 W. Pine St., online through or a Barnes & Noble.

Botaniques has a new location, kind of….After closing her popular Botaniques floral and gift shop downtown, Jeannie Roberts has now located a smaller version at Winegarten Vineyards gift shop. The shop is open during the vineyard’s regular hours on Wednesday through Sunday. The vineyard’s restaurant also has a new chef: Jeff Chapman, formerly of 12 West.

Lava flows where it wants to go…A recent email from Jerry Stroud said his beach house on Kapoho on the Big Island of Hawaii is in the predicted path of the slow moving lava flow from the Kilauea Volcano. Currently it’s about 13 miles from his area but predicted to, if not actually go through Kapoho and will probably cut the community off when it crosses Highway 130. Crews are working to establish alternate road access in the event that happens. In the meantime, Stroud is grumpily planning to return to his home in Fresno, Calif. and be greeted by the various forest fires burning there.

Birthdays celebrated….Two Farmington residents celebrating their birthdays were among the diners at Colton’s Monday night. Dale and Arlene Jones were there for Dale’s “21st” birthday (he laughingly said). Of course, the couple had also just recently celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. Then stopped to wish Elsie Stroud a happy birthday as she and her husband, D.R. celebrated her day with friends.

Wise Ways…Farmington High School recently had the grand opening of its Wise Knights Café, a new coffee shop to be completely student-run. Wise Knights Cafe will provide high school age students focusing on post-secondary employment skills the opportunity to acquire work and life skills in a real-life setting. The Cafe will offer coffee, lattes, chai tea, iced coffee, and iced tea to students and the public weekdays from 7:30-8 a.m. and from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Great place to get a coffee break and maybe brush up on today’s ABC’s.

Ministerial Alliance needs volunteers…The Alliance Thrift Store needs volunteers for various jobs including cashiers, sorting and preparing donations, and a truck driver for furniture moving. The Food Pantry also needs volunteers to work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Go by the Thrift Store for information or to pick up a volunteer application. Volunteers are vital to the continued operation of these two areas.

Coming Up:

Oct. 2….The Newcomers Club will meet at the Presbyterian Church starting at 9 a.m. Jon Cozean will be the guest speaker. Anyone interested is invited to attend.

Oct. 14…The Women’s Connection hold their annual Country Fair and breakfast meeting at a new location. The event will be held from 9:15-11 a.m. at the St. Francis Country Club, 4901 Hillsboro Rd. A large variety of items made by the ladies, including candies and baked good will be for sale. Chris Clevenger of Lake St. Louis is the guest speaker and her “A Life That Defies Imagination” will tell how she transformed her life from welfare to middle class and happiness. Reservations for the brunch are $10 and can be made by calling Joan at 756-7226, Helen at 756-5220 or Lucy at 573-562-7492. All interested women are invited to attend.

Enjoy the wonderful fall weather while it’s with us. And the next time you make a phone call, take a moment to think of those wonderful women who used to make our lives more pleasant with their greeting of “Number, please.”

Janet Douglas

Janet Douglas

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