"The number you have dialed has been disconnected," the recording said. Can't be. That number worked for 40 years.
Roofers called to say they were on their way. A bolt of shivers -- the dreaded aunt! -- struck every diner's spine when the phone rang Sundays, the roast beef served. Canvassers called for Jimmy Carter. Aimless hours of murmurings caressed lovers' ears.
All these ran through the lines that reach the black bakelite telephones. Do they still belong to the telephone company? Probably. Who knows!
The roofers never came. The aunt is dead. Jimmy's gone on from the White House to build your house, especially if you're poor. The lovers, well ...
More things change, the French say, the more they stay the same: Plus ça change, plus la même chose. It's not true.
She died. The house has been emptied out. The phone's been disconnected.