I fell off the stool, pulling the receiver out of the box by its roots.
We were both terrified -- Information Please was no longer there, and I was not at all sure that I hadn't hurt her
when I pulled the receiver out.
Minutes later there was a man on the porch.
"I'm a telephone repairman," he said.
"I was working down the street and the operator said there might be some trouble at this number."
He reached for the receiver in my hand. "What happened?"
I told him.
"Well, we can fix that in a minute or two."
He opened the telephone box, exposing a mess of wires and coils, and fiddled for a while with the end of the receiver
cord, tightening things with a small screwdriver.
He jiggled the hook up and down a few times, then spoke into the phone.
"Hi, this is Pete. Everything's under control at 105."
He hung up, smiled, gave me a pat on the head and walked out the door.
All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest.
Then, when I was nine years old, we moved across the country to Boston and I missed my mentor acutely.
Information Please belonged in that old wooden box back home, and I somehow never thought of trying the tall, skinny
new phone that sat on a small table in the hall.
Yet, as I grew into my teens, the memories of those childhood conversations never really left me; often in moments of
doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had when I knew that I could call Information
Please and get the right answer.
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