Numbers loved me.

I had an easy time recalling numbers. Once I called a telephone number I remembered it.

With most it was purely short-term but a few have been taking up space for decades.

I saw a telephone number on a billboard in Tulsa and could not forget it. I tried.

A car stopped in front of me in 1975. I stood on the brakes and stopped inches from her back bumper. The license plate was BZK-123.

Telephone numbers were easier to recall when the exchange included a name such as Blackburn 5-4771, Popular 1-6870 and Amherst 5-6165.

Exchange names were dropped and replaced by their corresponding numbers. Relatives had 255-4771, 761-6870 was ours for 40 years and I’m not sure who in Brunswick owned 265-6165 but I have an idea.

Numbers from post office boxes, addresses, zip codes, Ham Radio call signs, still clutter my mind and forgetting them is like not singing along with an old song

There is no benefit in remembering the serial number of my student trumpet but I was required to memorize it: 90306.

I worked for three airlines and recall the employee numbers for each.

Since I use online banking I have to type in my checking account number and remember it. I order a few things online and found that without trying I had memorized a credit card number.

Radio stations have published numbers as well as request lines, now known as “contest lines.” Most have direct lines into the studio. I recall a few.

Some big Atlanta radio stations could generate so many simultaneous calls it overloaded the system. The phone company gave them their own prefix.

Ham radio operators go by their first name regardless of who they are to the rest of the world. Priscilla Presley was known by her call sign of N6YOS and the name “Lou Lou.”

I talked with “Art” as a young Ham but didn’t know he was Arthur Godfrey. “Chet” was Chet Atkins.

Many musicians are Hams but country music contributes most of them. Being on the road and looking for a diversion they fire up the radio and are just another guy/gal.

My first contact in 1955 was with KN4JQL just up the street. We didn’t have antennas yet so we hooked up light bulbs to our transmitters and could communicate that way.

Veterans still remember their serial number.

I called two guys who were aviators during the Korean War and one who was a crew member on a B-17 in WWII. All three rattled them off. John said he sometimes can’t find his cellphone but actually had two serial numbers and remembered both.

My parents were married on Aug. 8, 1936. The birthdays of a few friends and family members are hit-and-miss but I rarely miss making make a phone call on July 2.

Joe Phillips writes his “Dear me” columns for several small newspapers. He has many connections to Walker County, including his grandfather, former superintendent Waymond Morgan. He can be reached at joenphillips@hotmail.com.

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