Articles


Go to content

Letter to

JERRY BILT 10



One of the most frequently asked questions of the "Ask Jerry" column is "Just who is Jerry?" So for the first time in the history of the newsletter we have decided to present a member interview.......The Editor



ATCS: "So tell us, Jerry, when you first developed your interest in telephones?"

Jerry: "Well I was quite an active and inquisitive child. I suppose it was the day, as a toddler, I accidently pulled the family "British Ericsson" down on top of myself, on my head actually. Ripped it clean off the farmhouse wall in fact."

ATCS: "So you're a country boy originally?"

Jerry: "Oh yes! But it was tough growing up on the land during the depression. It tends to shape your outlook on things."

ATCS: "I didn't realise you were old enough to remember the great depression?"

Jerry: "I'm not. I was referring to my mother's depression actually. 1936 to 1964 inclusive. You see the "British Ericsson" incident was just the tip of the iceberg for my mother."

ATCS: "Please go on."

Jerry: "Well, there was the time I nearly electrocuted my father."

ATCS: "Oh."

Jerry: "Yes, dad was out doing some fencing and he had taken an old linesman set with him. That way he could stay in contact with mum. You see, in those days the fencing wire doubled as our telephone lines."

ATCS: "I see, but that doesn't explain how you nearly electrocuted him."

Jerry: "I was getting to that. I can't have been much older than six or seven. To my way of thinking, if the fence could conduct telephone signals, then it stood to reason that it could conduct 240 volts equally as well."

ATCS: "You didn't?"

Jerry: "I did, but as soon as I had, I wished I hadn't. If I close my eyes I can still see the look on my father's face as he came stomping up from the bottom paddock with the smoldering telephone under his arm."

ATCS: "Was he very angry with you?"

Jerry: "He didn't say. Without breaking his stride, he just hit me and stormed into the house. When I got up several minutes later, I could hear a heated debate between my mother and father. It seemed to centre around whether I was old enough to attend a boarding school for the criminally insane. I decided to keep a low profile for a while."

ATCS: "They forgave you then?"

Jerry: "Hard to say really. I enjoyed boarding school in town though."

ATCS: "Oh."

Jerry: "I remember the school had a common battery phone, not like the party line I was used to at all."

ATCS: "But you managed to stay out of trouble?"

Jerry: "Not exactly. You see I developed a schoolboy crush on the lady on the switchboard. I used to sneak into the headmaster's office and just breathe heavily into the phone. What I didn't realise was that she could tell exactly where the call was coming from."

ATCS: "They caught you?"

Jerry: "Oh yes, eventually, but not until a very red faced headmaster had been before the department of education inspector to prove it wasn't him. Then there was the time......"

ATCS: "I think we had better leave it there."

Jerry: "But I was only just getting started."

ATCS: "That's what I'm afraid of. Thank you."



Back to content | Back to main menu