Telephones and Party Lines

Hi everyone! My name is Kate and I've just joined the Innisfil Public Library team as the new Historical Collections Assistant. I'm thrilled to be a part of the Our Stories project and am very much looking forward to getting to know the history of Innisfil through the many fantastic photos and stories that have already been collected, and to gathering a few myself.

One of the great perks of this job has been listening to various oral histories from around the community. Some stories are heartwarming, and others are heartbreaking. Nevertheless, each one reminds me that although our world is ever changing, we are always linked to our pasts, and sometimes that link is more familiar than you would expect!

While watching an interview with Brian Baker in which he describes the arrival of the telephone in Innisfil in 1949 and the use - and misuse - of party lines (where two or more households accessed the same line), I recognized the story as one that could have been from my own childhood. My grandparents lived on a farm in Hampton, Ontario where party lines were still in use and as children my brother and I would try to eavesdrop on the neighbours' conversations as a pastime while visiting!

I hope you enjoy Brian's humourous story about his neighbours, and feel free to share your own memories in the comments.

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