Oh, those innocent days before caller ID!!! We lived in fear of the dreaded “traced” phone call; never fully understanding that the recipient had to have their phone set up to “trace” calls and due to how connections were made it would have required us staying on the line for over 3-4 minutes! Never long enough for our favorite queries…(to a drug store),,,”Do you have Prince Albert in a can???…Well then you had better let him out!” Or calling someone (identifying yourself as the ‘appliance repairman’)…”Is your refrigerator running?…Well, then you had better go catch it!!” Anyone else remember these or other phone jokes??? Or am I dating myself???!!!
I didn’t make a lot of prank calls, I was too scared the person might have caller ID or trace the call! My cousin, however, loved to make them. One she did a few times was she would call a random number and tell the person she was from Dominos and ask if they ordered some kind of pizza… When they said no, she’d say “Well then someone must be pranking you. This is the number they gave…” heh.
We also made phony phone calls. Unfortunately, We made one too many, stayed on too long, and our phone call was traced! Of course, the calls were made from MY house … Now, when girls call my son pretending to be someone else, I just look at that ole caller ID and tell my son to let those callers know he’s on to them!
We hit the phony phone call stage at about age 10. Nothing nasty… just stuff like calling the same number repeatedly, asking for Jane or Mary. Then someone would call and say, “Hi. This is Mary. Were there any messages for me? I gave your number out by mistake.” I guess the big thrill was to see how angry we could make the person. But I was always afraid our calls would be traced.
We had a neighbor, old man Gurren, who had a French Renault Dauphine with the two tone horn. He claimed the car had great gas mileage. Everyday before he left for work he’d blow the horn on both tones and wake everybody up. The neighbors were really bent out of shape. This guy was a blow hard, always cutting down American cars and to make things worse, he worked at the Ford Plant in Cincinnati and what was even more of a blow was that I was definitely a Chevy man (of 9 years old). We use to go to St. Joseph’s Church Friday Fish Fry each week and ever since old man Gurren bought that “frenchie” car old man Gurren was always braggin about his French import. He blasphemed American cars and to a kid that could name – by sight – every American car produced in the last 10 years and the various models, old man Gurren was committing a large unforgiveable sin. Yes a Fish Fry, what else does a Catholic boy do on Fridays, who lives across the street from a Catholic church and whose mother is about to marry a man who has a daughter whose is a Benedictine Nun. I decided old man Gurren had to be stopped and I hit upon a plan that would make this guy look ridiculous. Every night for about two weeks I would sneak to this guy’s car and from a gas can I snitched from a landscaping truck parked nearby, I’d fill up his gas tank. Now our neigborhood was small and old man Gurren would go right after supper and sit in Holman’s bar or pitch horseshoes while betting on the horses at Klainies’ bar and tell outlandish stories of the fabulous gas mileage he was getting in his Renault Dauphine Deluxe – 50-60 miles to the gallon and by the end of two weeks everybody believed him to be a fool, as he was claiming 75-80 miles to the gallon when my step-dad to be’s Chevy was getting 14 miles per gallon. This was my own effort to get everyone to buy American. The men called him crazy and stupid. The guy who ran the local gas station backed him up and told everybody that he hadn’t seen old man Gurren in for gas for at least two weeks, but all of the men just figured he was going into another area to buy gas. Old man Gurren was becoming the laughing stock of our neighborhood. My plan was working. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing this to old man Gurren. And I planned it to be sweet revenge for American made cars. I never thought about the damage I was doing to the dealer who sold Renaults or the poor suckers who were either running there to get these wonderful cars, only to be disappointed when the cars didn’t get 75 miles to the gallon of gas or the people who stayed away from the dealer. Today I would probably be in the center of some kind of law suit. It all ended when I got caught “borrowing” the gas can from the landscaping truck one night by Mr. Bowman who owned the landscaping truck. He thought some one was stealing his gas and he sat on the Dolan’s porch one night and saw me and followed me. He told me he wanted all the gas back, and I said I couldn’t pay for it because it was 19 cents a gallon and I didn’t have the money but I promised I’d get him the gas back little by little as long as he didn’t tell my soon to be step-dad cause I’d get the beatin’ of my life. Mr. Bowman wanted to know why I was stealing the gas and filling up old man Gurren’s gas tank and I told him about my revenge on old man Gurren, he couldn’t stop laughing. Mr. Bowman knew that old man Gurren was actually telling the “truth” down at Holman’s bar – as old man Gurren knew it. Mr. Bowman told me he would not rat me out if I replaced his gas. I was temporarily relieved but how could a nine year old earn enough gas money now that school started up again? I thought long and hard running many senarios through my young brain. I finally hit on an idea that was beautifully simple – if I could put gas in old man Gurren’s car, I could get gas out. My idea was to siphon the gas out of old man Gurren’s car every night until I “paid back” Mr. Bowman. And so I did, a length of old garden hose that Queenie our hound had chewed up in a fit of anger and Mr. Bowman’s gas can. I can’t believe I did it, but every night for close to two weeks, after old man Gurren’s lights were off, I slipped out of my bedroom window, down on to our kitchen roof, grab the 5 feet of old garden hose I stashed in the gutter and drop to the ground and head for Mr. Bowman’s truck, grab the gas can and sneak to old man Gurren’s car. I’d take off the gas cap, slide the hose in until it bottomed out and suck like heck on the hose. Several times I had to repeat the process because a car was coming down the street or some one was staggering home from Holman’s or Klainie’s bar. Nobody would call the cops for somebody filling a gas tank, but taking gas out would be a reason to stop a kid of 9 years old. Some nights I’d spill a half gallon in the gutter just trying to get the hose from my mouth to the gas can. One night I got gas in my mouth and was sick for two days. Mr. Bowman heard I’d gotten sick and got word through to me from my …