2006-02-08 / Editorials


We got a telegram ...
Billy Fleming

If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English, thank a soldier.


“Effective Jan. 27, 2006, Western Union will discontinue all Telegram and Commercial Messaging services.” This message, which is now posted on the Western Union website, ended the era of telegrams which began in 1851. They’ll still send your money, just not your messages.

I shared the following story about my favorite Western Union telegram in September 1998...

I remember well watching Maris and Mantle play. I didn’t have much trouble sitting through a game in the late 50s and early 60s. I don’t think there was but one game on TV the whole week, the “Game of the Week,” in fact, sponsored by Falstaff beer and narrated by Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese. I remember their voices well.

And, I remember the black and white images of the ballgames, usually between the New York Yankees and whoever they were playing.

The Game of the Week that I remember most didn’t have anything to do with the game. Robert Crowdis, Buddy Howell and myself were watching the game, listening to Dizzy and Pee Wee call the action as only they could. And, they were reading telegrams from fans across the nation.

“Let’s send them a telegram!” one of us shouted. We did, and thought that would be the last of it. However, 10 minutes later Pee Wee was saying, “We got a telegram here from our good old friends down in good old Blakely, Georgia ...”

Several weeks later we struck up a conversation with an old man from Columbia fishing along the river bank. “I know y’all,” he exclaimed when hearing our names. “I heard Pee Wee talking about y’all on TV.”

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