Things, those old things, an old newspaper, an odd report card or book may not seem important but they could contain windows to the past. These yellowing and fragile pieces offer us a way to see how former generations lived, what they thought about or just how simple their lives must have been.
Sometimes local folks will drop by the Village News (VN) office with memories in hand waiting to share their story with everyone. And they can be very interesting stories, though maybe not oral stories, but anecdotes told through age old items.
In the 1930s, phone books offered what they do now (though not computer based), a list the phone numbers of folks who lived around town. Many of the families and names were recognizable, but who could remember every one of the 100 phone numbers in the book?
Courtney Wells, a very well known Chesterite, recently dropped the two whole pages of phone numbers (the entire book) by the VN office.
In the 1930s local phone numbers were easy to find, and many times easy to remember. If you wanted check on your kid, at Chester Agricultural School on Hundred Road, to make sure he did not skip out of school that day, you would call 11 – pretty easy.
But a tougher number to remember, if you were skipping town, was the Rail Station on Curtis Street – call 3803.
Dutch Gap Motor Company at Dutch Gap, which was on the R & P Pike, now Jefferson Davis Highway, was easy to get in touch with – dial 14.
Life was so much easier then, especially if you lived on the Trolley Line, as did F.W. Bruce, R.H. Bruce, Mrs. Frances R. Cole, G.W. Crump – the Crump House; a beautiful home then and still today – Rixey Jones and L.E. Wiley – 305.
But some would be happier than others who lived on Trolley Line. Harold E. and Mrs. Pickhardt lived at Trolley Line stop 37. Give them a call if you think you missed the trolley at 18. The trolley line was replaced in 1945 by Chester and Harrowgate roads. Buses then serviced the route.
Simpler times they were, although those who lived in the 1930s did put up with some aggravations. Jefferson Davis Highway was still rough traveling and those short phone numbers came with a price – party lines. A party line is, for the uninitiated, a phone line that you shared with a number of other people, much like having two lines in your home.
While you talked with Dr. Hurt about your ongoing gout, Mrs. Farmer, who lived down the road, was listening in, probably with her hand over the mouthpiece.