So last weekend we poured the concrete slab for the phone booth! I am thrilled that we completed such a big step -- the first tangible evidence of the project coming along. We framed out the spot, mixed the concrete (just like brownie mix but larger scale), and poured it in. Then we had to smooth it and put holes in place for the feet of the booth to fit into. I was able to write my ex-boyfriend's initials in the concrete in his memory so that was very special for me.
The guy who owns the phone booth now is pretty cool. His name is Ron and he lives out in the boonies of Arlington, Tennessee. His place definitely reminds me of the kind of place the guys from American Pickers would end up. He offered me two other phone booths when I first contacted him. One is an indoor phone booth and made of solid mahogany--someone needs to jump on that! When my family and I first went to go see the phone booth (they thought I was nuts but God bless 'em), Ron told us that the phone booth is originally from Alaska, of all places. I definitely plan on learning the rest of that story soon.
The phone booth is Benner Nawman brand. Their website states: "From 1950 to 1999, the company’s primary business was the fabrication and assembly of public telephone booths and accessories, selling hundreds of thousands of units in the United States and into over 40 countries worldwide." I found some pretty awesome old magazine ads for their brand of phone booths. Their catch phrase was "Tough Equipment for Tough Locations." The ads are GREAT.
In all the research I have done about Benner-Nawman, I haven't found another phone booth with a pink phone like mine! I know it's a long shot, but if anyone out there knows anything about this company, please let me know!
The phone booth will be delivered to our community garden this Saturday, March 4. After that we will scrub it, clean it, replace the seat, and maybe replace the overhead light. All of the cleaning may take a while, considering that the phone booth has been neglected since the 70s.
I am also working on the most personal and design-oriented aspect of the booth - the prayers and other resources that will be posted inside. The content inside the booth will reflect my objectives: to provide a sanctuary for those who have lost loved ones to come pray for healing and to start the conversation about the opioid epidemic in Memphis. I plan to include guided prayers and also resources for local grief groups, recovery groups, hotlines, etc. However, the phone will not be connected to anything or be working, so is that confusing?
Do y'all have any other ideas of what I should include inside the booth? I have a lot of ideas now - just trying to consolidate it all to what will be the most helpful and hopeful for people grieving.
Thanks again for everyone's support - it really means the world to me!