I just got off an unexpected phone call. (Sheesh. Millenials won’t even know what that sentence means. Anyways.) One of my Mom’s dear friends, a neighbor from across the street when I was a child, called to wish my family a Happy New Year. Mrs. E. was a dear woman in 1975, so it stands to reason she would be just as dear 40 years later.
We chatted about our holidays and how this year’s version of the plague has descended upon our respective homes. Lots of sniffles and minor fevers. She asked if we had received the Christmas card she sent and she was so glad to get ours. And she was the single person this year who said to me, “I know the holidays must be hard for you. I think of your Donna all the time.” God bless her. In just those few words, I felt seen, acknowledged, and held all at the same time.
The call was lovely.
She wanted to send cards to my sisters, too, so asked to check the addresses she had. A couple of times Mrs. E. asked for my patience as she flipped through her address book. She talked about needing a bigger one, but that she was so partial to the one she had been using for years, she didn’t want to switch. I laughed and told her how my niece poked fun at my good, old fashioned address book the last time she was over. Mine was purchased at Urban Outfitters in the mid 90s and has a stylized telephone on the cover. It was ironic 20 years ago. Now, it is just outdated, a marker of the past, the way things used to be.
I have more in common with an 80+ year old lady than a 20+ year old lady. Yep, I sure do.
Mrs. E. and I remarked about how our address books had a lot of crossed out names and addresses over the years. For my, it was friends and family moving. For her, it was friends and family dying. That’s how it goes. And a list of addresses cataloged on a computer will never allow you to flip through the entries and remember those folks.
This year I recommitted to my old address book. I had saved all the envelopes from Christmas cards received the past few years and I methodically went through each one in November to either add or amend an entry in the address book. I have a list of addresses on my computer, sure, but I never look at it, as who wants to sit down and cue up a computer just to check a quick address? But too many times over the past few years I have stopped sending a note or a proper thank you because of just that — I didn’t have or want to take the few minutes to turn on the computer.
After my edits, my address book is a bit fuller this year and a whole lot more accurate. A few more crossed out entries, too. I hope the time it took to update means that I spend a bit more time communicating the old fashioned way this year. Cards and calls. So retro. No irony.