This post is a winner of ChicagoNow's 20 Best Posts of February 2019. Enjoy.
An Address Book Full of Memories
I keep my old address book in a wooden bureau beneath the dining room window. The book is almost 20 years old, time worn, and held together with (everyone’s favorite) duct tape.
I almost asked for a new one a few years ago. A new address book would be a nice gift to receive on Mother’s Day, perhaps.
But then I stopped.
Because when I pull out my old address book, it brings back rushes of memories. The cavalcade of names that appear before me are too precious to put aside and start fresh.
My address book holds the names of my parents – Howard and Dorothy – well before my dad passed away.
My grandparent’s address is in there as well. As a widow, my grandmother lived in her own home in Florida until she was 99 years old. That same house now belongs to my aunt and uncle, who later purchased her home. That address on Vista Drive has a lot of history behind it, and my address book is a handy reminder.
My Aunt Grace’s home is listed --- South St. Laurence Avenue in the Pullman neighborhood. We shared many delicious meals in her brick townhome, enjoying her front porch and back yard, meeting her friendly neighbors and enjoying the neighborhood history. Good times.
That ramshackle book lists friends who I no longer hang with… for one reason or another. A few of them have passed away as well. I can’t bear to throw out their cherished names that I’ve written down.
There are so many reflections from the past in that handy little book: babysitters when my daughter was little; handymen who made repairs on our tiny house, including many plumbers, electricians, fence installers, concrete workers and carpenters. What a nice little reminder of our happy (and expensive) times in that home.
There are many crossed-out phone numbers of my sister, who goes through several new numbers each year. Our family now writes her number down in pencil so we can use an eraser. Her spirited character likes to keep us guessing.
My husband’s phone number is written down. I don’t recall when I first listed it on a page under “S.” But I’m sure I was happy when I realized our relationship was solid enough to warrant a listing in my book. Other fellas weren’t so lucky.
There are phone numbers for my daughter’s daycare, grade school, high school. And finally we have the business card of the President of her University. We randomly met him while touring the school and taking a shortcut across the vast lawn. That card lets me think back to how nervous we were to have our daughter attend school on the east coast, far away from home.
It all turned out well.
So this dilapidated book is staying in the top drawer of the bureau. Nestled among candlesticks, stamps and other odds and ends, I pull it out every few months to search for an address or phone number.
It’s worse for the wear but still holds its purpose.
And then some.
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