Smiling In Hello-Land: 1921 Telephone Etiquette For The Social Elite

Doing research for last week’s Thursday Doors post I fell down a rabbit hole that had zilch to do with what I was supposed to be learning about.

[I’m sure you’re not surprised, are you?]

However this tangent was not in vain. I found something unique + entertaining, meant for a blog post, as you will see.

Keep reading.

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The following came from Mrs. Devereux’s Blue Book of Cincinnati Society, the go-to source for lists of club members and their home addresses for the social elite circa 1921.

Below are little snippets of telephone etiquette advice printed at the bottom of some pages in Mrs. Devereux’s book.

These snippets, put there by the printer I imagine, filled the page with text, while at the same time SUBTLY TEACHING THE SOCIAL ELITE HOW TO POLITELY USE the newfangled thing called a telephone.

These six little snippets tell a charming instructive story that I’ve transcribed at the bottom of this post.  It is a story, in fact, that I’ve gone so far as to dub: How to be a Gracious Member of the Grand Army of Telephone Users.

Enjoy!

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How to be a Gracious Member of the Grand Army of Telephone Users

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life it is easy to lose the better things– the finer qualities.  About the cheapest abuse in the world is the abuse of people at the other end of a telephone wire.  It is the trait of a gentleman– the proof of good breeding– just to smile when you telephone.

The voice with the smile is the voice that wins.  The smiling man or woman who uses the telephone in a sensible way always enjoys the best service.  They never get the hydrophobia when delays occur in answering a call.  Quite often the operator is not responsible for delays.  To complete quick service the party called must immediately respond.  

Did you ever see the Girl at the Switchboard during the rush hour?  If you did you never would kick again.  Some of the people who are loudest in their criticisms would drop dead of heart disease if they were under the strain which is just part of the everyday life in Hello-Land.

There are some people who in ordinary ways of life keep within the bounds of calmness and sanity, but they shy at a telephone and look upon it as the vent for all the accumulated spleen of generations of grouches.  The Supreme Court of New York has ruled that telephones may be taken out if abusive language is used by the subscriber.

Edward W. Bok, editor of the “Ladies’ Home Journal,” declares that one sure sign of an imminent nervous breakdown is a disposition to lose temper when delays occur in telephoning.  When you feel inclined to go to pieces at the ‘phone– consult a doctor.  You have rung a danger signal for yourself every time you growl over the ‘phone.

The great majority of the Grand Army of Telephone Users know the value of keeping sweet.  It is a pleasure to serve them.  They have sensed the disaster that lurks in the poison which is generated in one’s own system every time a fit is cultivated.  It saves doctor bills to smile when you phone. 

The End

Thou Shalt Not Doubt: Overheard While Picking Up Chinese Carry-out

Zen-Den overheard this conversation and it was funny so naturally I have to share it here. 

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Our local Chinese restaurant does a decent carry-out.  The food is hot, fresh, and vaguely Chinese.  Z-D sometimes stops there to get us dinner.

The owner of this restaurant is Chinese and is not one to mince words.  He has a business to run, and his grasp of the English language is exactly what he needs to know so that he can communicate directly and loudly with his suburban patrons.

In other words, no chit-chat.

In fact, when you call in your order instead of the traditional time-consuming “hello” that you might expect to hear, the owner answers the phone with a snappy: “WHAT YOU WANT?”

At this point you, the caller, tell him your order.  He then shouts at you what time your order will be ready for pick-up and hangs up the phone.

There are no further social pleasantries like “good-bye” or “thank you.”  The call is over, your order is in process.  And now it’s up to you to show up on time and get it.

So last night Z-D was waiting in line to pick up our order when he overheard this conversation between the restaurant owner and the guy in front of Z-D in line who was there to pick up his family’s dinner.  It went like this:

Restaurant Owner: “HERE YOUR FOOD.”

Guy Picking Up Dinner: “That’s mine?”

Restaurant Owner: “YES.”

Guy Picking Up Dinner: “Are you sure? My wife ordered all that?”

Restaurant Owner: “SHE TALK. I WRITE. THAT HOW IT WORK.”

Guy Picking Up Dinner: “Hmmm… seems like a lot… I dunno…”

Restaurant Owner: “NOW YOU PAY.”

Guy Picking Up Dinner: “Well, ‘ya, that sounds about right. How much?”

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Question of the Day
What’s the best | funniest | weirdest thing you’ve overheard someone say? Everyone has overheard something so ‘Fess up in the comments below.  
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An Old Joke Repurposed: A Squirrel Named Chaz Walks Into A Bar…

What is this, you ask? This is my entry into evilsquirrel13’s annual Contest of Whatever. Details here. You, too, can join in the fun until February 28, 2019.

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Chaz the Squirrel, our mutual friend, was sitting outside on the deck staring into the woods, pondering what to do next.  

Behind him was a bleak house, empty at the moment because since Christmas, Carol, the owner, had been away.  

In fact, truth be known, Chaz was a little sad, having fallen on hard times.

With nothing much to do Chaz decided to go to a bar that was a much of the old curiosity shop as it was a place to get a fine cocktail.

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He didn’t have great expectations as he walked into the bar, but was delighted when he saw his favorite bartender, a petite woman, some would say little, Dorrit.

Upon seeing Chaz, Dorrit exclaimed, “Hey there you little dickens!  What’ll you have?”

To which Chaz replied, “A martini, if you please.”

“Sure enough,” she said. “Will that be with an olive ‘r twist?”

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THE END

Rambling Thoughts: Hand Me A Doughnut, It’s Time To Celebrate Valentine’s Day

I WASN’T GOING TO POST ANYTHING today because I know many of you dislike Valentine’s Day with a red-hot passion that burns deep within your very souls.

You, my gentle readers, mentioned this in the comment section of my post, Just Curious: Tell Me, What’s Your Least Favorite Holiday?

From your comments I discerned, because I am a woman who can discern, that many people have issues with Valentine’s Day.  Issues that remind me that I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes by being happy about this day.  Nope, crazy lurks everywhere, causing issues until there’s medical intervention.

Or doughnuts.

Which are just like time spent with a therapist but more accessible and less expensive.

Quote me, if you like.

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WHICH, OF COURSE, BRINGS ME TO the quote I’ve shared at the top of this post.  It’s a quote from Tom Robbin’s novel, Even Cowgirls Get The Blues.  I read this novel in college.  I majored in English Literature, and this novel is an example of a subculture hippy novel, well-written, descriptive, not based in reality.

Yada, yada, yada.

So here’s the thing, the above quote is what I remember the most from the novel.  As I recall the quote means that in life, love is what you use to fill the space so that there’s no emptiness.

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OR AT LEAST THAT’S WHAT I think it means, and considering how long ago I studied that novel, I want some credit for even remembering the quote… about love… on Valentine’s Day.

And with that glimpse into my addled brain I’ll end this post.  You may choose to believe that I’ve wished you a Happy Valentine’s Day OR if you hate this holiday you may choose to believe I have not wished you a Happy Valentine’s Day.

As with most things, it’s all in how you look at it.

In Which I Notice The Sky & Share My One Word Of The Year

What’s the word, hummingbird?

Well, if we’re talking about my favorite photo of late the word would be blue.  I took this while out for a walk in the park.  Such a clear day and look at that sky!

But I doubt that’s what you, my gentle readers, want to know about.

I suspect that you’re asking me about my #OneWord365 because you’re wondering if after choosing one word you might feel empowered to get your lazy backside into gear for the new year.

So you want to know my word in case it’s a good one and you can use it, too.  Which would be fine with me because mi palabra es tu palabra.

Thus, I share with you my word of 2019.  It is:

STREAMLINED

As in efficient.

Without turbulence. 

With ease of movement. 

Smooth-running.

Well organized. 

While I admit I’ve never known of anyone else to choose this word, as a free spirit with a Type B personality I think I’m onto something good here.

I can keep it simple whilst accomplishing things.

Just watch me do it this year.

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how about you, my gentle readers, Do you have one word for the year?
If you do what is it? If you don’t, why not?
And more to the point, how are things working out for ‘ya so far in 2019?
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Three Thoughts Thursday | Doing. Listening. Watching. + A Postscript

This is that thing, my gentle readers, when I tell you stuff and don’t make a story of it. Here we go.

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ONE

I think that Creating My Dragon Name by following the how-to from pine.and.birch is the most perfectly silly thing I’ve done this month.

I am: Ylla the Tired, Hoarder of Toast and Potted Ferns.

To figure out your dragon name do this: it’s { your first name spelled backward } the { how you’re feeling now } hoarder of { the last thing you ate } and { an object to the right of where you’re sitting }.  That’s it, easy peasy mac and cheesy.

TWO

I think that Happy Face, a podcast, is worth listening to and will chill you to your bones.

It’s the story of serial killer Keith Jesperson, known as the Happy Face killer, told by his daughter, Melissa Moore.  She’s an adult now, but as a child she lived with/had contact with her father– while he was on his killing spree.  Her examination of what was going on then and its impact on her now is fascinating.

And horrifying.

THREE

I think that The Good Cop is quietly hilarious, but will admit that there’s not much to it.

It’s a light TV comedy that’s reminiscent of [but nowhere near as wonderful as] Monk or Psych.  The plots aren’t complex, but honestly, the chemistry between Tony Danza as the ex-con father and Josh Groban as the perfectionist cop, well– those two are a hoot to watch together.  Plus the supporting cast is great.

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Questions of the Day

What’s your dragon name? Listen to any good podcasts lately? Do you admit to watching brain candy TV shows?  

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P.S.  This will be my last blog post of 2018.  It’s been a heck of a weird year;  if you ask me, it’s one that has gone too long.  I’m sick of it.

Soooo I’m going to take a short blogging break by ending 2018 early and starting next year late, which is to say I’ll be back here sometime in mid-January 2019.  Until then, my gentle readers…

Be safe. Be happy. Be. 🐝

#ThursdayDoors | Finding History In Front Of Us, Hello Texas Saltbox Houses

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you photos of the following doors.

Using my cell phone camera that is not so great, I took these photos last month when we were visiting San Antonio.

Come to find our hotel, Plaza San Antonio, had a past.  Situated on 6 acres located in a historic district originally settled by German immigrants in the 1800s, this hotel was built around old homes.

[Also, but not pertinent to doors, this hotel allegedly has a ghost running around in it.  I didn’t know that when we were there, but hat tip to Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge for letting me know what I missed.] 

On this hotel property, owned by Marriott, were well-kept old houses built in the New England saltbox style.  These various buildings, one of which I feature here, charmed the socks off me with their small scale and sturdy vibe.

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DOOR, very narrow, on side of Elmendorf-Tyler House.

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DOOR, seen up-close, showing hardware painted the same color as the door.

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Gate on property surrounding Elmendorf-Tyler House.

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DOORS, maybe still used as such, opening onto long porch on what I guess was the front of Elmendorf-Tyler House.

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Brick sidewalk between long porch and hotel rooms.

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DOOR, rarely used it would seem, leading into small shed attached to side of Elmendorf-Tyler House.

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