Five Miles That Way

5milesthatwayThe first thing we noticed was a grinding sound. When James’ car started to vibrate we both knew something was wrong. 35 years ago we slowly took the exit for Passaic on our way back to the dorms, and parked my roommate’s hobbled Monte Carlo next to the building pictured above. Back then it was a general store. We asked a group of guys by the register where the nearest payphone was. One of them pointed two directions and said, “the nearest payphone is 5 miles that way or 5 miles that way.” Then we asked if there was a phone we could use to make a collect call. The same guy said, “sure it’s right there on the wall behind you.” Last week I was on my way to Neosho to interview my friend Hoovie for an upcoming episode of THE EPILOGUE CABIN. I pulled over at Passaic again to respond to a text. The old general store is now an RV park. I still didn’t see any payphones.

4 Responses to Five Miles That Way

  1. I only know of one payphone in the entire Joplin city limits and it’s in the Sam’s parking lot. And it’s a drive by. And I only know of 2 drive by mailboxes in Joplin. They are side by side with the same pick up times and for envelops only. They are in the Office Depot parking lot on the corner of 32nd and Rangeline. Now wouldn’t you think they could scatter them just a bit so people on the other side of town could have access? Oh I forgot there are 2 more drive by, side by side, same pick up times in the POST OFFICE parking lot. The post office has long hours open door access
    daily. Go figure. If our friend Bob was still running the P.O., I’m sure we would have easier access. That’s my soapbox statement and I’m sticking to it.

    • wow Mom, between payphones & mailboxes it sounds like you have the whole city’s communication resources mapped out :) I sent that photo to James & asked him if he remembered that spot, his response was: “Yes, I remember that spot, and hitchhiking, and then waiting for my Dad to bring a torch to cut the bearing off. Long day, but we lived to tell about it!”

  2. collect call, wow, you say that and instantly I recall party lines. Either way you can put a suction cup recorder on any phone to record your call….this and many more details to come in the next epilogue cabin…

  3. I remember hearing about it.

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