What Do You Say To a Dream That’s Dyin’

Recently, I had come in from outside working on the roof in the rain/snow and turned on the television.  The Partridge Family was on.

The second episode was from Season 2 “In 25 Words Or Less”.  It originally aired on Friday, September 24, 1971 on ABC.

I had watched the show occasionally when it was on, but I was not a fan in any sense of the word. The psychedelic bus the family used was an image which still haunts the recesses of the mind.

Well, in the middle of the episode they performed a song with a catchy tune and melody. I was not familiar with this song, but it had a definite message about young love, especially teenage love.

The song spoke of young love with metaphors of Ferris wheels, sunshine, laughter and rainbow love after the rain.  The young lady’s phone number Echo Valley 2-6809 was repeated in the song.

Back then, phone numbers were a bit strange.  I am sure there’s a history about why the telephone exchange was used, and most of all back then there was always an operator eager to help you with any question or concern.  The female voice was always reassuring and calm wherever they were located in a building with massive lines and operators.

As the song continued, it is painfully obvious that a rift had happened between the young man and woman.  The last phone call ended in tears for both of them.

The young man viewed himself as a lone runner.  There was no one on the sidelines to cheer him on or to offer him a refreshing drink of cool water.  He was alone, totally alone with his memories and hurts.

For a teenager emotional hurts are like jagged pieces of metal touching the soul.  Tears are the blood from the soul, ripped out by the hurts.

One day he decided that he wants to call to reconnect.  Days turn into weeks with no call given because he was scared, scared of rejection.  He wondered how much more could his soul be minced and diced by hurt.

In an utterance of pure pathos he said,

Never been much for writin’, ’cause what do you say to a dream that’s dyin’
A fragile lifeline that’s untyin’, oh no, oh, no
And I can’t face the sunrise, lightin’ up a road to nowhere
Where you are, I have to go there, are you waitin’, I’ve got to know..”

What do you say to a dream that is dying?  As he looked at his road of life on this planet traversing the cosmos, he wondered if she was waiting somewhere for him.

Mustering up the courage, and it took a lot of courage, he had the operator dial her number.  The moments seemed like an eternity as a thousand thoughts swirled through his mind about what he wanted to say.

Then the stark reality intruded into his fragile world—“You have reached a disconnected number.”  Disconnected from his dreams and hopes the girl of his dreams had faded from his grasp. There were no Google® maps back then.

The song ended with his regret about calling.  The knowing is much worse than the not knowing.

The song never said what happened to the young man.  Perhaps, like many male teenagers, his number was chosen in the draft lottery.

Many young men back then said good-bye to their girls.  Many of these young men went off to war to fight an enemy which they did not know in the rice fields and jungles of Southeast Asia.

Many dreams died with these young men.  Their girls back home listened to their vinyl records and remembered the high school hallways, the soda shop, the drive-ins and lovers’ lanes where they spent time with their young men.

Songs bring back memories.  Memories are part of our mental make-up.  Our experiences have shaped us into what we are along with our daily choices.

Sometimes, waiting to call is to always to face a disconnected number.  Life has many disconnected phone numbers and unknown addresses.

G. D. Williams  © 2014

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The Partridge Family




We grew up together with Ferris wheels and sunshine laughter
A rainbow love that lasted after the rain
And now we’re separated and I’ve become a lonely runner
And when I rest, I hurt and I wonder if I’ll ever see you again

Echo Valley 2-6809, I used to call that number all the time
But the last time that I called you we hung up cryin’
Echo Valley 2-6809, I can see it clearly in my mind
But I’m scared to call, ’cause it’s been such a long, long time

Never been much for writin’, ’cause what do you say to a dream that’s dyin’
A fragile lifeline that’s untyin’, oh no, oh, no
And I can’t face the sunrise, lightin’ up a road to nowhere
Where you are, I have to go there, are you waitin’, I’ve got to know

Echo Valley 2-6809, I gotta call that number one more time
‘Cause I’ve just got to know if you’re still mine

Hello, operator? Get me Echo Valley 2-6809
You have reached a disconnected number

Echo Valley 2-6809, I shoulda called that number

Read more: The Partridge Family – Echo Valley 2-6809 Lyrics | MetroLyrics


The Partridge Family – Echo Valley 26809