Human Relations: The Listeners

In Davenport, Iowa, telephone number 323-1819 rang. The call was answered by a 71-year-old woman, a retired schoolteacher. "Hello," she said pleasantly. "This is your listener." Her caller said "Hello" back, but there was uncertainty in her voice. "Is this your first call to us?" the schoolteacher prompted gently. "Yes," came the reply. The subsequent conversation between two strangers went like this:

I'm a widow living in this house alone. I was so lonesome tonight I had to talk to someone. What bothers me is the loneliness, not talking to anyone.

I'm glad you thought of us. I hope you call...

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