Monday, January 13, 2014

Old Address Books

Usually, near the beginning of each year, I fill in a new address book with the current contacts and addresses I anticipate needing in the new year. I'm not very efficient when it comes to keeping track of doctor's names and other such throughout the year so once, just once at the beginning, I make a stab at collecting all the current information.

While I'm at it, I update friends and family addresses and any others I consider important. I also spend considerable time combing through old address books to make sure I haven't missed anyone.

You may wonder how I could miss someone. My MO tends to be write the new info down on a scrap of paper or sticky note. This is usually stuck to my computer monitor until guilt prompts me to find an address book. It most likely won't be the current one as who can find that when you want it? However, a couple older ones are probably stashed somewhere nearby. Find one. Enter the info, secure and smug in the fact that I actually DID transfer the information to some permanent repository.

Then in January, guilt strikes once again. In my orgy of organizing, tossing out, establishing a calendar for the appointments for the new year, I dig out all the business cards I've squirreled away with the mental promise of someday doing something with them. And...I decide I'll do better this year.

This year as I gathered the usual bits and pieces and pored over the spotted pages for the old books, it finally dawned on me why I despise prowling through the old collections of addresses and ephemera. Most of those people memorialized in the tattered books are gone. On many pages, not even one person is still alive.

Other folks are relics of long-gone life in far off places. The hunk and I have moved often. In spite of the best of intentions, people from those lives slip through our fingers. The glue that held us together dries out over time. Everyone moves on at their own pace.

As I study the list of names, it shames me that some I can't even match with a face...or even a reason their name is written in my book. Who were they? Why was it important for me to save their address or telephone number?


This year after I fill in my new address book, I'll pack the old ones away with care. I had intended to throw them all away, but I believe I'll file them with my genealogical papers. Who knows? There may be some fragment of information that will come in handy down the road. It's time for me to finally let them rest in peace.


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