I dreamed about my grandmother last night, and that brought back some memories. My grandmother passed away when I was in the eighth grade. Before her last illness, she would often call at night to visit and ask about my school day. In those "olden days", we still had local phone operators, or centrals as they were sometimes called.
My grandma's eyesight had gotten bad, and she would sometimes fail to get the phone hung up completely after her call. Our phone operator would call us back and tell me that my grandma didn't hang up her phone. Then I would put on my coat and go to her house. She would be surprised to see me since we had just spoken, and I would think of something new to tell her. When she wouldn't notice, I would quietly hang up her phone.
It wasn't always fun knowing the operator. I remember my brother and I making crank phone calls when we were young. Some of you may remember the one where you would call a grocery store and ask if they had Prince Albert in the can. When the clerk said, "Yes", we would tell them to let him out as the queen wanted him. Sounds rather dumb now, but at the time we thought this was pretty funny. It wasn't funny, though, when the operator called us back and, referring to us by name, told us that she would tell our mother if we did it again.
You know, we didn't even consider this might be an invasion of privacy. It was just one member of the community looking out for others.