Information Please



For today’s episode want to do something a little different. I want to share a story with you about the power of listening and connection. These are part of the whispers that are all around us. I hope you enjoy it!

Episode Transcription:

Intro plays

Ari: Welcome to us Whispers And Bricks.. My name is Ari Schonbrun, and I’m your host. Welcome to the Friday edition of whispers and bricks. A little bit different today, I want to tell you a story that I heard and it was told to me by a gentleman by the name of Paul. And it was, well, let me just tell you the story. When I was young, 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 about it. Then discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived in 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 to cry because there was no one home to give me sympathy. So I walked around the house sucking my throbbing figure, finally arriving at the stairway, the telephone. Quickly I ran for the footstool in the parlor and dragged it to the landing, climbing up i onok the receiver in the parlor and held it to my ear. information, please, I said into the mouthpiece just above my head, a clicker to and a small clear voice spoken to my ear information. I hurt my finger. I willed 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 voices? No, I replied. I hit my finger with a 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. So the voice after that. I called information please for everything. I asked her for help with my geography. And she told me what Philadelphia was. She helped me with my math. She told me my pet chipmunk that I caught in the park just the day before would eat fruit and nuts. Then there was the time PD our pet Canary died. I called information please, and told her the sad story. She listened. Then said the usual things grown up say to sue the child. But I was on consoled. I asked her. Why is it that birds should sing so beautiful, 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 nine 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 Popeck and perplexity. I would recall the seat the serene sense of security I had then I appreciated now how patient understanding and con she was to have spent her time and a little boy. A few years later on my way west to college, my playing put down in Seattle. I had about a 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 Dad my hometown operator and said information please. Miraculously, I heard the small clear voice I knew so well. Information. I hadn’t planned this, but I heard myself saying can you please tell me how to spell fix. There was a long pause there In case the soft spoken answer, I guess your finger must have healed by now. I left. 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 thought of her over the years, and I asked if I can 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 information. 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 that. She said Sally had been working part time the last few years for the last few years. Because she was sick. She died five weeks ago. Before I can hang up. She said Wait, wait a minute. Did you say your name was Paul? Yes. Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down in case you called Let me read it to you. The notes 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. What’s the moral of the story? Never underestimate the impression you make on others.

You’ve been listening to whispers and bricks and my name is Avi Schoenberg and I am your host. Until next time, listen to the whispers avoid the bricks and never give up on your dreams. Bye for now.