I recently had an appointment near my grandmother’s old house. Although I was only 13 when she moved out of that home, I still remember her address and I was able to find the home quickly.
As I drove past, her old phone number popped into my head!
Her “number” started with Harrison-5… or HA-5.
When I told my son this, he asked what I was talking about. “Mom, when were letters included in phone numbers?”
If you’re reading this article on Aging Gracefully, I’ll bet YOU remember when we had “telephone exchange names,” don’t you?
In fact, I’ll bet you remember your old phone number AND old numbers of friends and family, too!
A telephone exchange name, also called a central office name was the name assigned to a central phone office that identified the switching system that it connected to.
These exchange letters were mapped to digits, indicated on the dial telephones at that time.
A common plan used two letters from the central office name with four or five digits following but some larger cities implemented plans with three letters followed by four digits.
In small towns with a single central office, local calls sometimes only required dialing four or five digits without even using exchanges.
The increasing demand for phone service outpaced the scalability of the alphanumeric system and was phased out in the 1960s after the introduction of area codes.
Even though those exchanges were phased out more than 50 years ago, who still remembers this?
I always say that memory is a funny thing – so strangely selective at times!
You might not remember what you ate for lunch yesterday but…
I’ll bet you remember your old phone numbers!
Am I correct? Tell me!
What numbers do YOU remember from childhood?
Share your memories in the comment section below!