Chickamauga telephone golden anniversaries

Jackie McPherson (standing) and Nancy Kitts each recently marked 50 years of service at Chickamauga Telephone. / CTC

Chickamauga Telephone Corporation (CTC) has many long-term and devoted employees, but Jackie McPherson and Nancy Kitts stand out. They each marked 50 years of service at CTC recently.

Ironically, Jackie and Nancy were hired the exact same day — June 24, 1968. Jackie was hired as a customer service representative straight out of high school at 18 years old.

“When I started with the company, all the bills where posted by hand when customers came in and paid on their accounts,” Jackie said.

Of course, there was more traffic in and out of the office then. Before the days of automatic drafts and online payments, customers enjoyed more service face-to-face.

Nancy started her career at CTC as a customer service representative and transitioned to dispatcher a few years later. She, too, remembers when everything was handwritten.

When Nancy first began dispatching, troubles and installations were communicated via a radio system to technicians in the field. Once the job was completed, the technicians would radio back, and Nancy would notate on a card file system which contained each individual customer’s information. She kept these handwritten records and still occasionally refers back to a customer’s information as needed.

When asked what she remembers most about working at CTC throughout the years, she stated, “The people I worked with. We always try to have a good time — even on bad days.”

Jackie and Nancy have seen drastic changes in the communications industry over the last five decades. When they started in 1968, party lines, rotary phones, and four-digit dialing were standard, and long distance was charged for any calls made outside of the city of Chickamauga (once the operator connected you). Bills were paid in person in the local office, or by mail, and payphones were the closest thing to a cell phone.

The industry has transformed from the occasional phone call to 24/7 social media and daily video chats; handwritten records to emailed receipts; and from dial-up internet to fiber optic broadband.

To have begun in the simple, slow paced analog world, and transitioned to the fast, ever changing, digital world, is an amazing achievement. CTC thanks both Jackie and Nancy for their years of faithful service.