Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter, Horseyfoot!

It's time for more of Charlotte's scrapbook.  This time in honor of tomorrow, it's Easter cards.  First up is a card from Charlotte (or Horseyfoot, her husband Gene's pet name for her) to Gene.  It's dated 1941 and the ears armade from something like flattened pipecleaners:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Dawning of a Confession

It's confession time once again.  I played with dolls when I was little.  I don't mean action figures, I don't mean G. I. Joe, I mean dolls.  I had a stuffed doll (who was clearly a girl based on the flowered shirt), who I defiantly named Freddie.  And I played with Barbies.  I have a clear memory of breaking my sister's Barbie's leg on Christmas eve and hiding behind my parents' door to hide from her.  It wasn't out of spite, I was just playing with it.  And I recall waking up one morning and finding I had a new Raggedy Andy in bed with me, courtesy of my oldest sister.  But my sister had received a Dawn doll.  Dawn was a knockoff smaller version of Barbie made by the Topper company in 1970.  I always assumed she was Barbie's little sister.  Anyway, I wanted my own Dawn.  And after much fussing, my mom bought me one.  I have no idea where my dad was during all of this.  I'm sure he wouldn't have approved.  I guess being the youngest, I was the invisible member of the family and went about largely unnoticed.

So it brought back these memories when Dawn and I were reunited once again at a garage sale yesterday.

She looked like she had never been played with, but put away and covered by years of grime.  She cleaned up pretty good.  Alas, our reunion will be short.  She'll be going up on eBay this week.

Have a Seat

I've always loved the 50's dinette sets with the vinyl chairs and look longingly at them in antique malls.  My problem is, I like more things than can fit in my house.  But when I saw a lone vinyl dinette chair in my favorite colors for $1, I couldn't pass it up.  It has a cut in the seat, but everything else in very nice and sturdy condition.  The chrome legs still have their original red plastic caps. I'm hoping I can find some material that matches good enough to recover the seat.

One Ringy Dingy, Two Ringy Dingies...

A few years ago, I was at a garage sale and saw an old rotary dial phone.  It had been rewired for a modern phone jack and it was only $3.  I bought it and hooked it up.  It had a dial tone, but wouldn't ring when called.  I joined an old phone Yahoo! group and asked for assistance.  Someone sent me a schematic for the phone and I was able to trace the wires to the offending connection.  Someone had wired it to be silent.  Apparently, in the days when AT&T (or Bell) charged you more for having multiple phones, they could detect extra phones by the ringing through the lines.  Anyway, its bells were no longer silenced.

So I found myself at another estate sale yesterday, in yet another basement.  When I had finished looking around, my son asked if we were going down to the next basement.  Sure enough, there was another level below the basement -- the basement's basement.  It was pretty dirty down there and the items were no less dirty.  Tucked under a shelf I found this:

Well, the dial ring was present, that's shot after I removed the dial for cleaning purposes.  After a complete dismantling and a thorough dowsing of soap and water, this emerged.

I like the "Please Answer Promptly" message.  I'm wondering if this was used in a motel.  Inside, I found the date stamp of November, 1951.

It's still wired for the old phone jacks, so I'll need to rewire, but that's not a big deal.  The wire coloring standard in the old phones is the same as current phones.  Simply swap out one at a time, matching colors.  And there wasn't much that could go wrong in these old phones (although there's something that disturbingly looks like a vacuum tube inside.  It's covered by a cardboard sleeve, so it's hard to tell).  Hopefully, with a little luck, it's bells too will be ringing once again.


I did get this rewired with a modular jack and it works great, although now that I have VOIP, I can no longer dial out.  There are pulse to tone emulators on the market that can be hooked up to this to convert for VOIP, but I haven't pulled the trigger on one yet.  Also, I discovered this phone was likely used in a funeral parlor, hence the "Please Answer Promptly" message.

I'm not sure what changed with my VOIP service, but I can once again dial out with the rotary.
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