Fourth Week of November

I read this story a few days ago, and it brought me face-to-face with reality. Take a dip into it. I promise you won’t regret it.

When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in

our neighborhood. I remember well the polished old case fastened to

the wall. The shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach

the telephone, but used to listen with fascination when my mother used

to talk to it. Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device

lived an amazing person – her name was “Information Please” and there

was nothing she did not know. “Information Please” could supply anybody’s number

and the correct time.

My first personal experience with this genie-in the-bottle came one

day while my mother was visiting a neighbor. Amusing myself at the

tool bench in the basement, I whacked my finger with a hammer. The pain was

terrible, but there didn’t seem to be any reason in crying because

there was no one home to give sympathy. I walked around the house sucking my throbbing

finger, finally arriving at the stairway.

The telephone! Quickly, I ran for the foot stool in the parlor and

dragged it to the landing. Climbing up, I unhooked the receiver in the

parlor and held it to my ear. “Information Please,” I said into the mouthpiece

just above my head. A click or two and a small clear voice spoke into

my ear.


“I hurt my finger…” I wailed into the phone. The tears came readily

enough now that I had an audience.

“Isn’t your mother home?” came the question.

“Nobody’s home but me.” I blubbered.

“Are you bleeding?” the voice asked.

“No,” I replied. “I hit my finger with the hammer and it hurts.”

“Can you open your icebox?” she asked. I said I could. “Then chip off

a little piece of ice and hold it to your finger,” said the voice.

After that, I called “Information Please” for everything. I asked her

for help with my geography and she told me where Philadelphia was. She

helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk, that I had caught in the

park just he day before, would eat fruit and nuts.

Then, there was the time Petey, our pet canary died. I called

“Information Please” and told her the sad story. She listened, then

said the usual things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was unconsoled. I asked

her, “Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to

all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers on the bottom of a cage?”

She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, “Paul,

always remember that there are other worlds to sing in.” Somehow I

felt better.

Another day I was on the telephone. “Information Please.”

“Information,” said the now familiar voice.

“How do you spell fix?” I asked.

All this took place in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. When I

was 9 years old, we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my

friend very much.

“Information Please” belonged in that old wooden box back home, and I

somehow never thought of trying the tall, shiny new phone that sat on

the table in the hall.

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 then. I appreciated now how

patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a

little boy.

A few years later, on my way west to college, my plane put down in

Seattle. I had about half an hour or so between planes. I spent 15

minutes or so on the phone with my sister, who lived there now. Then without thinking

what I was doing, I dialed my hometown operator and said,

“Information, Please.”

Miraculously, I heard the small, clear voice I knew so well,


I hadn’t planned this but I heard myself saying, “Could you please

tell me how to spell fix?”

There was a long pause. Then came the soft spoken answer, “I guess

your finger must have healed by now.”

I laughed. “So it’s really still you,” I said. “I wonder if you have

any idea how much you meant to me during that time.”

“I wonder,” she said, “if you know how much your calls meant to me. I

never had any children, and I used to look forward to your calls.”

I told her how often I had thought of her over the years and I asked

if I could call her again when I came back to visit my sister.

“Please do,” she said. “Just ask for Sally.”

Three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered


I asked for Sally.

“Are you a friend?” She said.

“Yes, a very old friend,” I answered.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this, she said. Sally had been working

part-time the last few years because she was sick. She died five weeks


Before I could hang up she said, “Wait a minute. Did you say your name

was Paul?”


“Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you


Let me read it to you.” The note said, “Tell him I still say there are

other worlds to sing in. He’ll know what I mean.”

I thanked her and hung up. I knew what Sally meant.


Never underestimate the impression you may make on others. So in your comments, leave me a message. Whose life have you touched today?

Word of the Week

Nostalgic (noun)

1. a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.

Quick Contest

Have you seen the cover of my new novel, Mortals: Hayden Roux Chornicles? Draw the cover, scan the picture onto your computer and send me an email at [email protected] by the end of this week. I’ll showcase the best art and honorable mentions right here. So, go! Send in your pictures!

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0 thoughts on “Fourth Week of November”

  1. Nice “other worlds to sing in” huh

    I guess Sally had to give informations in the other worlds as well.

    hmmm lets see…. i have never touched anyones heart cuse they are inside and it would be gross n all…jk

    ok lets see:…..none today but maybe tomorrow

    N thnx fr the definition also 🙂

  2. This is really awesome.I read it two times,felt good.

    Umm…don’t really know if i ever touched other people’s heart in good ways…i think in bad ways yes! because i keep on doing bad stuff…well Awesome articlee…:)


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