I was a telephone switchboard operator for 65 years. I started right after high school and I worked the pay stations during World War II. The pay stations took nickels, dimes, and quarters, and we could press a button to collect the money that the person put in.
We knew when the troops were coming into Boston to be shipped out because the phones were ringing off the hook—they all wanted to call home and let their families know they were being shipped overseas.
One day, I said to the other girls, “I want to take you out to dinner tonight. I have something I’d like to discuss with you.”
So we went out, had dinner and I said, “OK, I’m going to do it, and if you don’t want to, that’s up to you.”
“What is it?”
“We all have boyfriends in the service, and some of them have already passed away. And we know when the troops are being shipped out. Now, when they give you the number, push the ‘return’ button so the money will go back to them.”
They said, “You’re kidding.”
“No, I’m not. These kids are being shipped oversees and who knows when they will come back. They don’t have any money.”
“OK, but what if a supervisor sees us and says something to us?”
“Oh, just innocently say you pushed the wrong button.”
We all did it and none of us got caught, and we did it until the end of the war.
(Source: , via fuckyeahbuckets)
Mysterious Coin-Covered Wishing Trees
The strange phenomenon of gnarled old trees with coins embedded all over their bark has been spotted from the Peak District to the Scottish Highlands in the United Kingdom. One of the larger collections can be seen in the picturesque village of Portmeirion in Wales where there are seven felled tree trunks with coins pushed into them.
The coins are usually knocked into the tree trunks using stones by passers-by, who hope it will bring them good fortune. These fascinating spectacles often have coins from centuries ago buried deep in their bark, warped from the passage of time.
The tradition of making offerings to deities at wishing trees dates back hundreds of years and is similar to the concept of a “wishing well”, where one tosses a coin in for good luck. The “wishing trees” date back to the early 1700s in Scotland where ill people stuck florins into trees with the idea that the trees would take any any illness. However if someone were to take away any of the coins, legend states that they will become ill instead.
This is so incredibly wonderful.
ART CAR PARADE - HOUSTON, TEXAS
Settlers were invariably ready to hold an outdoor celebration.
—Texas, A Guide To the Lone Star State (WPA, 1940)
Every year in May, the Orange Show’s Art Car Parade takes place in Houston Texas. While named after art cars, this parade gladly welcomes all wheeled participants, including those on bikes, scooters, skates, and roller blades. Even though May is still technically spring, the temperatures and humidity are already soaring by that time in Houston. Nevertheless, these folks manage to maintain their energy and costumes for the duration of the parade.
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Brenna Brock is a State Guide to Texas who grew up in the western part of the state, but soon left for Austin in search of trees, hills, and occasional precipitation. When she’s not shooing varmints out of the garden, trying to cook native plants, or indulging her cats’ every whim, she’s probably chasing after something with a camera. She posts a photo nearly every day on Tumblr at Mr. Cake’s Photo Adventures.
Red Hook, post-Sandy, 10.30.12
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