Oh gosh, I missed all this conversation about party lines. We had 10 families on ours. Our number was 800F33 - 3 long and 3 short. Yes, we had to break into conversations sometimes if we had to make an important call. And yes, there was a lot of listening in. The funny thing is that my Mom and I were so tuned into the phone that we could sleep through rings in the night, but if it rang 3-3, we would wake up immediately! And we had a live operator, a neighbor, who would answer if we rang just one long ring. She would answer questions, provide information and connect long-distance calls. She probably knew everyone's business in the area.
Originally Posted by yellowrose46
I grew up with the party line too, and the old telephone with the crank at the side. We had a dairy farm and dad would come in from milking when he found out a cow was in heat and he would have to call the artificial insemination people before they left on their route for the day, and would frequently have to break into the conversations of ladies on the line. I'm sure they would listen in to my dad's conversation (so exciting!). I still remember the number. He'd turn the crank and say Zenith 60850. I can't remember my good friend's cell phone number, but I can still remember that!