Good grief! Phone is gone with the wind

Sometime last week, the South Whidbey wind phone was stolen.

When Seattle resident Patty Kunitsugu paid a visit to the South Whidbey wind phone on Sunday to make a call to her deceased mother, she did not expect to find it missing.

Installed this past February in the Trustland Trails Park by Suzie and Gene Reynolds and dedicated to the memory of their infant son, the vintage rotary phone provided a cathartic way for callers to speak to their lost loved ones. The concept of the disconnected phone booth originated in Japan and greatly appealed to Suzie, who collaborated with South Whidbey Parks and Recreation to make the wind phone a reality.

But sometime within the last week, the phone was stolen. Suzie arrived Monday to find that it had been ripped off completely from the piece of wood it was securely bolted to in the booth.

“I don’t know who would do that, but it would be really cool if we could figure that out,” she said.

A friend who noticed a Nextdoor post about the missing phone alerted her on Sunday, which was the same day Kunitsugu visited the park with her spouse and niece. Kunitsugu was hoping to talk to her mother and a friend who had passed away.

“It’s a beautiful little phone booth,” Kunitsugu said. “And then I said, ‘Where’s the phone?’”

The three of them ended up making a call with a cell phone instead. While they were there, Kunitsugu met a South Whidbey woman who uses the wind phone twice a week.

Suzie is unsure of when exactly the phone was taken.

“I think people visit it a lot, so it feels like it probably just happened, maybe a couple days ago at the least,” she said.

She has already ordered a replacement phone covered in the same pattern of forget-me-nots, but it could take up to a month to arrive and be installed.

“It was really disheartening to see that someone stole the rotary phone from the phone booth yesterday,” Suzie wrote in a post on the wind phone’s Facebook page. “To those who ventured out on Mother’s Day to speak with their mothers I am truly sorry you were robbed of that experience.”

Potential theft of the wind phone was something she discussed as a possibility with the parks and rec department during the planning process of the project. While she considered a trail camera, she ultimately wondered if it would disturb the privacy of people using the wind phone.

Executive Director Brian Tomisser said Trustland Trails closes at dusk and a staff member locks the gate to the parking lot at that time.