In the summer of 1975, I was 13. Let me take you back...
It was a strange time. We had ugly clothes and hair. Very ugly. It was past the free love '60s but not yet the narcissistic '80s.
Here's some of what was on TV:
- Mary Tyler Moore (1970-1977).
- McCloud (1970-1977).
- All in the Family (1971-1979).
- Columbo (1971-1978).
- McMillan and Wife (1971-1977).
- Soul Train (1971-present).
- Emergency! (1972-1977).
- Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids (1972-1984).
- Maude (1972-1978).
- M*A*S*H (1972-1983).
- Sanford and Son (1972-1977).
- The Bob Newhart Show (1972-1978) .
- The Price Is Right (1972-present).
- The Waltons (1972-1981).
- Barnaby Jones (1973-1980).
- Kojak (1973-1978, 2005-present).
- Match Game '75 (1962-1969, 1973-1984, 1990–1991, 1998-1999).
- Schoolhouse Rock! (1973-1986).
- The Six Million Dollar Man (1973-1978).
- The Tomorrow Show (1973-1982).
- Chico and the Man (1974-1978).
- Dinah! (1974-1980).
- Good Times (1974-1979).
- Happy Days (1974-1984).
- Land of the Lost (1974-1977).
- Little House on the Prairie (1974-1983).
- Police Woman (1974-1978).
- Rhoda (1974-1978).
- The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast (1974-1984).
- The Rockford Files (1974-1980).
I believe 1975 was the summer I hung out with Randi. Randi, who not only spelled her name with an "i" but dotted it with a circle, a heart, or, most often, a smiley-face, was a bubbly person. Aside from both of us being 13-year-old girls who went to the same Junior High (because in 1975, it was a Junior High not a Middle School), Randi and I didn't really have a lot in common. Where I had mad crushes on boys at school, Randi flirted with boys at school. We had very different ways of being but mostly we had proximity. We lived a few houses away from each other and so it didn't require parental transportation to hang out--a huge plus!
I can remember clearly when Randi introduced me to the California Beep Line. I'd never heard of it before and I've never met anyone since that time who's heard of it. Randi told me she'd gotten hold of this toll free number for the California Beep Line. You called it and you'd hear a couple beeps and then there'd be about a minute of no beeps and then back to the beeps and then another minute of no beeps and so on. The idea was that there were all kinds of people calling in to the California Beep Line and you communicated on this free, national, shared phone line by talking in between the beeps.
We called the California Beep Line every day for about a week. We waited for the beeps to end and then we called into the phone "Hello? Hello?" and you know what? One day we actually talked to someone else on the California Beep Line. We were freaking out! We were so nervous we didn't know what to say. I remember he asked us our names and Randi, clever girl, without a pause, gave out fake names for both of us. She advanced our ages a few years, too. He wanted a phone number to call us directly but I don't think we gave him one. We weren't that gutsy.
This was long before social networking sites, before texting, before chat rooms, before usenet groups. If we wanted to communicate with strangers, we called the California Beep Line.
Now, Google Analytics tells me when I've said "Hello? Hello?" on this blog, in the last month alone it's been heard by people in Poland, Uruguay, Australia, India, Singapore, the Netherlands, France, Canada, Mexico, Portugal, Sweden, the UK, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Venezuela, Peru, and, of course, the good ol' US of A. I don't have to wait for the beeps to stop. I can send out a "Hello" any time and see what comes back.
well, you get the idea.