Ex-telephone operators to hold luncheon Tuesday

Ex-telephone operators to hold luncheon Tuesday

CHAMPAIGN – Former area telephone operators will reunite Tuesday for an 11:30 a.m. buffet lunch at the Round Barn Banquet Center in Champaign.

The annual reunion started in the late 1970s with a potluck lunch at a farm in Ivesdale. It later moved to Hessel Park in Champaign, with food supplied by Illinois Bell employees.

After the Illinois Bell office closed in 1990, a group of former operators kept the once-a-year lunch going in local restaurants.

In 1950, an estimated 260 telephone operators worked in Champaign.

At least 40 former operators are expected at Tuesday's lunch, which will cost $13, according to Jeanette McPherson, one of the organizers.

"Ex-operators have many of the same memories, but the meal is secondary to catching up on news of friends and co-workers," she said.

Those wanting more information can contact Nedra Brown, 352-4567, or Fran Brown, 493-2684.