By Pete Bauer


Jim Croce released his hit song "Operator" Aug. 23, 1972. The song told about a former lover who moved to Los Angles. The artist was asking the switchboard operator if she could find a telephone number. In the song, the operator did find the number, although she never completed the call.

Forty-four years later, ATT eliminated the last remaining operators.

Today we have many tools to find someone, more accurately than the simple search the operators could do. Moreover, smartphones are a technology marvel compared to early telephones. Rarely is one even used as a telephone but rather an exchange of text messages.

Alexandra Graham Bell created the telephone in 1876. Surprisingly, Clarion had telephone service by 1890; the same year, borough council passed an ordinance allowing the Bell Telephone Company to erect poles in the streets and alleys. Within six years, Clarion had direct connections to Pittsburgh.

Upon the telephone's invention, people were saying how disruptive it would be, ringing all day and night, while others predicted that within 100 years, we would be able to see the other person and not just hear them Both did come true.

Jim Croce died in a plane crash in 1973. So, unfortunately, we will never know if he ever reconnected with his former love. But he probably would have changed the line about helping to place the call to "can you help me spoof this call" had he lived to see today.