Little Down Neckers Part 9 (circa 1909)

by Charles McGrath


My father's family lived in a duplex house on Vincent Street circa 1930-1940. The toilet facilities were initially addressed with outhouses in the backyards. Eventually bathrooms evolved and they were added to the rear portion of each duplex house. The landlord chose a common dividing wall just thick enough to provide visual modesty; however, it provided no attenuation of any acoustics.

A family by the name of Cusack lived on the left-hand side of the duplex. If either family member needed something they would knock on the common kitchen wall. Upon hearing the knock they both would proceed to the bathroom and talk through the paper thin walls. It was probably the first wireless intercom.

To my knowledge there was only one telephone on Vincent Street. That was owned by a neighbor who lived directly across the street. I believe their name was Crapsi.

Can you imagine this telephone was used by the whole neighborhood. For both incoming and outgoing calls. They must have been very generous people. Not only did they have to receive the incoming call but they had to send someone to get the called party.

Can you imagine that happening today?

The outgoing calls were controlled by the fact that their instrument was coin operated. This was not unlike one you would use today in a telephone booth.


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