My sister Martha Lou met Will when we still lived in Missouri. He was home on leave from the Army. When they married about a year later, Martha moved with him to North Carolina where he was stationed.
Because of a job offer Daddy received, shortly after Martha and Will married and left for North Carolina, Mama, Daddy and I moved to Indiana. So when Will got out of the Army a couple years later, they moved here too so that they could live close to us.
Cindy was their first child. After she was born and Martha went back to work, Mama babysat for Cindy for about a year. I was a teenager and loved getting to see and play with baby Cindy every day after school. So, we always had a special little bond with Cindy because of us spending so much time with her as a baby, even after Martha and Will had their other three children and moved a couple hours away. Cindy was always kind of “our baby”.
I tell you this, because it makes it not as unusual for Mama to receive a call from Cindy, even though in 1975 it was a little unusual for a young teen to make a long distance call just to chat.
So, here is a story from Mama’s book, I Remember, about a call from Cindy:
One evening about 9:30 the phone rang. Ruhl wasn’t home. I answered it and some girl’s voice said hello. I said, “Hello? Who is this?” She said, “Cindy”. Thinking it was Martha Lou’s daughter, Cindy, I said “How are you Cindy?” She said, “Just fine.”
I thought she sounded odd and I couldn’t figure it out. I said, “Are you home alone?” She said, yes. Then I asked, “Where is the rest of your family?” She said, “I guess they went out to eat.”
I thought that strange and I thought maybe someone was in the house and she was afraid. I said, “Are you sure there is no one in the house with you?” She said, yes she was sure. I asked her if she was afraid and she said, no.
So I said, “How is school?” She said, “Okay”. Then I said, “I am sure your folks will be home soon.” She said, “Yeah, I’m sure they will be.” I said, “Well, it has been nice talking to you, honey. Call us again soon.” She said, “I will.” Then we said good-bye and hung up.
The longer I thought about that conversation, the more worried I got. I waited about an hour. I thought Martha and Will should be home by then and I called them.
Martha answered the phone. I said, “Hi, is Cindy there?” She said, “No. Cindy is at a basketball game.”
I said, “Have you been home all evening?” She said, “Yes. Why?”
Then I told her about the telephone call. I asked if she thought Cindy could have called me from someplace else. The more we talked the more worried we both were. She said, “Will says he will go see if he can find her. I will call you back after we talk to Cindy.”
Will went to the ball game, but it was over. Everyone was leaving and he couldn’t find her.
By that time it was eleven o’clock. Martha Lou called me back and told me Will didn’t find her, but 11:30 was her curfew. She said Cindy always got home on time, so she was going to wait until 11:30 and if she didn’t come home, then they would either go looking for her or call the police. She promised to call me back.
About 11:25 Martha called and said Cindy was home. I talked to Cindy and she said she never made the call. We were all puzzled. To this day we don’t know who made the call.
We believe we had one more call from “Cindy” a few months later. The phone rang and when Ruhl answered, a girl said “Hello.” He said, “Who is this?” She said, “Cindy”. He said “Cindy who?” She hung up. We felt sure it was the same girl.
Well, I guess the call from “Cindy” doesn’t qualify as a prank call, because she carried on a pleasant, if somewhat cryptic, conversation with Mama. I wonder if what happened was that she dialed a wrong number and was then intrigued when Mama acted like she knew her? We’ll never know. But I do think it’s a tribute to what a sweet, loving voice Mama had that apparently “Cindy” called back to maybe chat again with that unknown grandma.