Tag Archives: #Marilyn

My Cousin Was a Telephone Operator

Marilyn in the wagon at Nanny’s and Poppy’s. Detroit Michigan, 1955.

This week the Sepia Saturday theme is telephones or telephone operators. I would like to write about my cousin Marilyn’s amazing career as a telephone operator for Bell Telephone Company in Detroit.  She started working in 1981 and continued until her retirement in 2008.

My cousin Marilyn at work.
My cousin Marilyn at work.  Photo taken in 1989.

My cousin sent me a photograph of herself at work with the phone company. She wrote a bit about her years at there:

At Michigan Bell Telephone Co, which turned into AT&T Inc. Worked from 1981 to 2008 (about 28 years)

  • Information operator (“What city?”)
  • Also worked as a clerk in the company and
  • A telephone booth $ collector (Drove a big truck with a hard had, lots of keys hanging on side – 2 way radio “walkie talkie.”

Unfortunately I do not have any photographs of Marilyn at the switchboard so I am inserting a photo grab from one of my favorite movie, Danzón (María Novaro, 1991). The whole movie (Spanish, no subtitles) is available on YouTube in more than 10 parts. I would advise renting the movie. It has everything, dancing, true love, a fine young man on a boat, good hearted prostitutes, female impersonators, friendship, motherhood, aging. I found it on Netflix here and also cheap on Amazon.

Telephone Operators in the movie Danzón (María Novaro, 1991). María Rojo, Carmen Salinas, Tito Vasconcelos.
For more posts featuring telephone operators and more, click.