Randy Herberg shares his family’s story of installing The Telephone of the Wind in Wildwood, Missouri in his daughter Beth’s honor as she passed away in 2000. His daughter and son in law first discovered a phone they found in the woods during a trip to Maine. The couple, who travels full-time in their RV, saw another phone in California and they shared the photos with Randy and his wife Marilyn.
The retired forester and U.S. Army veteran had never heard of anything like using an old-fashioned rotary phone to say goodbye to a loved one.
“Seeing the second telephone really sparked the idea that we could put The Telephone of the Wind across the street from our house,” said Herberg. “ walkers, joggers, hikers and bicyclists pass by all the time.”
He visited The Telephone of the Wind’s website to learn more about how this idea started in Japan. With more information on how to get started, his family and community rallied around the project. They needed some help and materials to get started.
A neighbor’s 20-foot fallen tree limb served as the post and Kelpe Contracting, Inc. used their auger to safely dig the hole and steer clear of utility lines. The same neighbor gifted Herberg a red rotary telephone for Christmas.
Herberg and his son in law built the box to hold the telephone and its sign, which dedicates The Telephone of the Wind to lovers, family and friends. Herberg built a bench from two chunks of wood and a board across as a resting spot for people, and his neighbor had a bronze plaque which dedicates the bench to Beth’s memory.
“I think Beth is looking down and would get a kick out of the phone and bench,” said Herberg. “She was a fun person.”
This project inspired one neighbor to add a morning glory vine and another neighbor to plan adding some day lilies in the future to further beautify the site. Additional ideas include adding a free little library and even a community food bank to help anyone who needs it.