The oldest, longest-held telephone numbers were just one or two digits.
Anniston Hardware was simply ‘1.’ Wikle Drug Co. was ‘5.’ Anniston police were at ‘27,’ which was also the fire department number.
Most people and businesses of 1950 had four digits — Fort McClellan’s was 2400 — although some customers of Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph had suffix letters and numbers that pushed theirs all the way up to six. (Saks, Weaver and Coldwater residents seemed to have a lot of those.)
The point is, our comfortable XXX-YYYY number pattern has not always existed, and this Saturday, its time will have passed, too.
On that day, residents of area code 256 (remember when we all had to learn that?) will be required to always dial 10 digits when making phone calls: the area code, plus the number.
The change precedes the addition of a new area code later this summer, an area code which will be assigned to customers receiving new phone lines.
Once the changes take place Saturday, the Public Service Commission will have a toll-free number for anyone with questions or problems: 1-800-392-8050.
Meanwhile, hello, Sarah? Just get me Thelma Lou. (After all, today is Andy Griffith's birthday.)