By Janet Guyon

(FORTUNE Magazine) – At AT&T's very last annual meeting, on June 30, shareholders voted to accept a takeover bid from SBC, one of its former corporate children. It spelled the end for Ma Bell, the 120-year-old behemoth that employed one million people at its peak. Nervous employees aren't the only ones feeling threatened. Golden Boy, the statue commissioned in 1914 by Bell System founder Theodore Vail, will soon be the symbol of a company that doesn't exist. We asked him to look back on his long career.

195 Broadway, New York City, 1916-80

I had killer views during my glory days in downtown Manhattan and even made the cover of the phone book. That's my mom, Evelyn Beatrice Longman (below), admiring my profile after winning Vail's contest to create--oh, the poetry of it--a symbol of the power of America's telephone monopoly.

555 Madison Avenue, New York, 1983-92

My new home, post-breakup. Looks cushy, right? Think again. Not only was I gilded, I was gelded. (AT&T feared offending tony shoppers. Did Michelangelo's "David" have to put up with that?) It was a symbol of what was to come. We bade farewell to the Baby Bells in 1984 and marched into computers, trumpeting Unix, our operating system. That flopped, so we bought NCR. We lost billions, laid off thousands, and wrote off our phone network. And we missed what could have saved us: the Internet.

Basking Ridge, N.J., 1992-2002

After we abandoned the Madison Avenue digs to those upstarts from Sony, I moved to the 'burbs. More space! Fresh air! But things only got worse. In 1996 we shed NCR, Lucent, and 70% of Bell Labs, our legendary research operation.

Bedminster, N.J., 2002 until today

Another decade, another office park. We deployed a risky strategy to spend $110 billion on cable companies. It drove us into the ground. We dumped everything but long distance, then watched brutal price wars destroy the business. Maybe SBC will move me out of the parking lot--if it doesn't lay me off.