It’s gotta be a record

Ask Kay Patterson if she can remember the phone number she had as a child and she will rattle it off, “3-6824.” Easy for her, She’s had it since birth.

“I think I deserve a plaque from Bell Telephone for having the same phone number the longest. Except there is no Bell Telephone anymore,” Patterson laughed.

“It’s unreal to me. I grew up on North Flenniken Street. Mother and Daddy bought the house before World War II. That was their phone number when they bought the house.”

“Daddy went off to war. Mother and mu sisters (10 and 14 years older than me) stayed there. I was born in 1947 and lived there all my life.”

The family had the typical black, heavy wall phone of the time plus a black rotary phone in her parents’ bedroom. “I wish I still had that wall phone,” Kay said. “I still have the bedside rotary phone with the number 3-6824 on the dial.”

“Back then, you had to get up and go answer the phone. Now with cell phones, the phone is glued to their hands,” Kay said.

 “We were on a party line with the lady who lived across the street.” Sharing the line meant that any phone call to either house could be heard in both houses. “It was always me listening on the line. I am sure she told my mother ‘Get Linda Kay off the phone.’”

In the early 1960s, Kay received her own bedroom phone  “I think it was yellow. Of course it was plastic,” she said.

In 1964, during Kay’s junior year of high school, her parents divorced. Kay moved with her mother to Dallas to live with her mother’s brother who had children. She returned to El Dorado for her senior year.

“El Dorado was home. I came back to live with Daddy. He decided to build the house on Grove street for us.” Kay said.

“They had a vacant lot right there on Grove Street close to our house. Daddy had talked about building on it. I always wondered if he thought it might get them back together.”

New house. New phone. Same phone number.

Kay graduated, married and lived elsewhere for about six months. “Then I thought, ‘you know, Daddy is living in that house. Why don’t we move there with him? That would work for everybody.’”

The newlyweds moved in with Kay’s father who still had the same phone number.

“A year or so later, Daddy remarried and went to live with her. She had a home. Wilbur and I continued to live there.  After a couple years, we had kids and continued to live in the house.”

“We were together nine or ten years, and we divorced. I continued living there. When Tommy and I married, he moved in with me.  Nothing had changed. The number stayed the same.”

“When Daddy died, the house was still in his name. We either had to buy the house or sell it. That is when Tommy and I moved to Elm Street. The phone number moved with us.”

Through the years, more digits were added to the prefix and area code. Rotary dials became buttons. Party lines and dial tones disappeared while the monthly bill increased. Still, Kay’s last five digits remained, including when their phone service was bundled with their cable service.

“It is kind of a cool thing that this number has been in our family since the early 1940s,” Kay said.

Bell Telephone no longer exists to possibly recognize that record, but Kay Patterson does, and she is one of the few who easily recalls their childhood phone number