Sunday, February 16, 2003

Bell worker establishes good phone connection


Prize possessions

By Marsie Hall Newbold
Enquirer contributor

[photo] Barb Jones' hobby took off when she started at Cincinnati Bell 25 years ago.
(Joseph Fuqua II photo)
| ZOOM |
Who: Barb Jones, 44, a Cincinnati Bell employee who collects telephone "knickknacks."

On display: More telephone items than she can count, including an inner tube, a watch, snow globes, a toothbrush, salt and pepper shakers, a ceramic clock, picture frames, a flowerpot and bookends. She also owns 80 Christmas ornaments, a couple of teapots, cigarette lighters in the shape of cell phones, an egg timer, and sunglasses with rims in the shape of rotary dials.

Her collection also includes music boxes that play "Let Me Call You Sweetheart," "I Just Called To Say I Love You" and similar songs.

Where: In the "telephone room" of the Latonia home she shares with her husband, Charles, and their dog, Nikki, who has a red telephone squeaky toy.

Mini-museum: "For a while, I had them in every room of the house. But I didn't want the telephones to completely take over, so I gave them their own special room."

Phones are displayed in two bookcases and a china cabinet. Even the light switch plates have telephone designs.

Dialing for decorators: "Everything is packed in so tight!" she exclaims. "I really need to have a professional come in and show me how to display them."

Even though most of the collection is upstairs, she admits that her refrigerator is full of telephone magnets and that a "few" items have spilled over into other rooms.

Sweet talk: Jones, who will celebrate her 25th year with the telephone company, became interested in telephones on her 16th birthday.

"My grandma made me a birthday cake with a little boy and girl figurine on it," she recalls. "They were each on the telephone. Then another year, she made one in the shape of a telephone with a receiver. Of course, it picked up even more when I started working for the phone company."

Mr. Watson, come here! Her favorite item is a nutcracker in the likeness of Alexander Graham Bell.

"It's just great," she says with a grin, then adds, "Although I'm not sure that's the way he'd like to be remembered."

Share your prize possessions with Marsie Hall Newbold by mail: c/o The Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202; e-mail: marsolete@aol.com. Please include a daytime telephone number.




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