Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ivy nine

Back when I was a kid, many people still referred to telephone numbers prefixed with letters representing the numbers on the dial. The letters were the first two letters of the old telephone "exchange" system, still in use in many parts of the country in the 1960s and 70s. For example, in my home town, HObart 3 (or HO-3) would be dialed 4-6-3, plus the last four digits of the number. My grandmother's number (which is the only phone number I can still remember by heart) was IVanhoe 9 (IV or "ivy" 9), dialed 4-8-9. The word "ivy" always reminds me of that.

Ivy, as opposed to IVanhoe, growing on the side of a tree in the vineyard.

So that's your tidbit of useless information for the day! Remember PEnnsylvania 6-5000? Me neither. There are still some things I'm too young to remember.


  1. wow ! I am first in line for once, not the last one!!!
    I remember too when you called a residence or a house or family. Now you call a person.

  2. The one thing the Météo is bad at predicting at a local level is rain. It's really frustrating. My local maraicher is complaining that we haven't had enough rain and, even worse, because she'd given up expecting rain, it's too cold and things aren't growing.

    I am old enough to remember party lines and winding the handle on the phone to get through to the operator (who listened to every conversation, in the traditional manner). I don't remember what our number was though.

  3. It's these combinations of letters and numbers that provide, for me, some memorable passwords for the computor.

  4. Don't remember phone numbers but can still remember the number plates of the cars my parents drove when I was 10... no idea why!

  5. a funny ivy husband is a IV (hes a native virginian, what can i say) so we've gotten random calls from salespeople asking to speak to "Mr Ivy"

  6. "Remember PEnnsylvania 6-5000"
    First time I heard it was from watching a movie on the life of Glen Miller :-)

  7. We were just talking about that type of old phone number with our new neighbors Friday night (they've been here for a loooong time), but, Walt, we're the same age, and I never knew anyone while they still had a phone number like that. But, we definitely had a party line, and we have a good story or two about that :))

    Melinda, your "Mr Ivy" story is pretty good :)) My dad's name was Victor D. Chabot, and we lived on Bookbinder Drive. For some reason, some computer got things mixed up, and he started getting junk mail to "Mr. Ookbinder du Chabot." It was hilarious -- especially the first time, when the name was inserted automatically into different spots of a long junk mail sales letter, "... you, OOKBINDER du CHABOT, can win $10,000 in our sweepstakes, but you must act now, OOKBINDER DU CHABOT, or lose your chance....blah blah blabh."

    heh heh:)

  8. There's mention of the HObart and IVanhoe exchange names in Bell Telephone's "Notes on Nationwide Dialing, 1955".
    Growing up, ours in Lebanon, Il was KE(Key) and now in the Sunset Hill area of Seattle, some of the old buildings still have faded phone numbers starting with the prefix SU(Sunset) painted on their exteriors.

  9. Our number was Ea-st something.

  10. I had two phone numbers since we moved when I was nine. WA for Wabash and CH for cherry.

  11. michael, congratulations! Yes, remember when you had to ask the operator for a person-to-person long distance call so you wouldn't have to pay if they weren't home?

    susan, we only got 5mm in the last two rain days. Every little bit helps, but it's not enough.

    lesley, I never thought of that!

    n&a, it's amazing the stuff that clutters up our minds. And I can't remember what I watched on tv last night!

    melinda, that's funny because I'm a IV, too. I tell the French people who ask about it that I'm the fourth, just like Henri IV. LOL

    t.b., that makes sense!

    judy, I think I just remember the adults referring to numbers like that out of habit, especially when the change to all-number dialing happened, they didn't change the number, just substituted the numbers for the letters. Ookbinder du Chabot, indeed!

    dean, I did find that site when I was researching this post. Fascinating!

    starman, I remember numbers from the movies and tv that started MUrray Hill (that might have been Lucy & Ricky's number) and others from NYC.

    evelyn, cool!

  12. DIamond 3-4018 was my home's access number. I doubt if I will ever forget it.

    Remember Butterfield 8?

    Mary in Oregon

    1. mary, I know about the movie, but don't remember seeing it.


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