Stalking friends


So I’m still working on my holiday cards. Yup. The past month hasn’t quite worked out like I had hoped. As evidenced by, once again, not posting on AGMA for two weeks. *sigh*

I’m shooting for mailing them out by Easter. But Easter’s early this year so I might be overly optimistic…

I was updating some addresses in my contacts app today. This app links to my calendar and Google Maps and Email and probably five other apps I don’t know anything about. Boggles the mind.  My mind at least.

It made me think about how much my “address book” has changed over the past 40 years.

Of course, back in ancient olden times, when men wore stovepipe hats and women couldn’t show their ankles, we used physical address books. Like the kind with paper in them. Like a real book with pages in alphabetical order with blank spaces for names and addresses. And you would actually write somebody’s address with a  pencil or a pen. Quaint.

I still have every one I’ve kept since I was 19. Seriously. Just a little OCD AGMA showing…

Perhaps not the most efficient way to store friend and family address information compared to digital options today, but to me, my old address books are absolutely priceless. They are the story of my life and the lives of my friends in just a few lines.

Kind of a Twitter type of biography/autobiography.

My early address books reflect the life of a confident young woman just starting out in the world. That would be me. I was so naive…  Lots of information about college friends and still some high school friends. And old boyfriends. Most of whom got crossed out.

As an aside, crossing somebody out of your paper address book is far more satisfying than just deleting their address card from your contacts app. Far more. I mean, think about it. You can slash through their name with your pen like you’re Dexter. Or press your pink eraser to the page, and scrub and scrub their name until tiny beads of sweat start popping out on your upper lip and you lick them off with triumphant delight.  Satisfaction.

Those early address books had a lot of crossed out and erased addresses as friends left the cocoon of home and school, and entered the big wide world. Young professionals starting out in apartments, moving from city to city, buying their first house. Lots and lots of address changes as we all tried to find out where we belonged. And who we belonged with.

Then came the additions. Lots of additions. Cute Kathy Collins became Cute Kathy and weird Gene Wilson. Or Collins-Wilson. It was the 70’s after all… The single names morphed into two names (or three) and the address almost always changed along with it.

In a few years, there were even more additions. In the column beside cute Kathy and weird Gene’s name & address, I added other names along with birth dates. Nicholas 10/31/79. Corrie 7/8/82. Stephen 1/25/84. And more addresses were scratched out/erased as people moved to make room for growing families.

You’d think at this point I would have quit using a pen. Evidently AGMA’s not that smart.

Things stayed pretty stable for a while as people settled into their marriages, homes and families. My address book started looking better than it had in years.

And that’s when some the names started getting scratched out. Uncle Jim, leaving Aunt Ann strangely alone in the name line. And Uncle Harry was alone as well after I crossed out Aunt Mildred. Older relatives and co-workers. In a few sad cases, college & high school friends.

Then, once again, addresses began to change. Children graduated from high school and college. Some friends downsized. Some moved to new cities. Some turned from one into two entries as couples decided to go their own separate ways after years together.

I switched over to digital address tracking about ten years ago. First it was just a document that had all of my contacts in it. That was just a pain in the arse.

Now it’s a contact app that is sooooo much more efficient than my simple paper address books could have ever dreamed of being. So simple to delete a name or change an address or add a new last name. And it wipes out all traces of the previous entry. Completely.

I’m not sure that’s such a good thing.

My old address books are full of amazing memories. Of friends made and lost. Of new love and injured hearts. Of the joy of children and new places, and the sadness of loss and broken relationships.  Priceless.

Because when you cross out a name in a paper address book, you can still read it.  It’s still there. When you erase an address, there is still a faint trace of it on the paper. There’s a history there. A history of how life evolved for my friends and family over the past 40 years. And a history of myself through my relationships with them.

That’s pretty awesome.

I’ve had to delete two names this year. One, a former neighbor, and one, a friend we ran with when we were all 20 somethings. Deleting always makes me incredibly sad.  I don’t mean to be morbid, but I have a sneaking suspicion, at this age, the deletions are just really beginning. The circle of life and all that you know?

But today, I added two new entries. One is a Facebook friend who is going to the “next level” – I’m going to visit her next week! The other is the son of one of my longtime paper address book friends. I’ve known him since he was six. I added him and his wife, and in the notes section, the names and birthdate of both of his young children. That made me smile.

So here’s to a 2016 with more additions than deletions! We’ll throw that out the the Universe and see what happens…

Aging gracefully my ass.

Happy New Year and keep your fingers crossed!

47 thoughts on “Stalking friends

  1. I use to have a paper address book. My mother gave it to me, likely in the hopes that it would help me remember to call her from time to time. After awhile I progressed to writing people’s phone numbers on little sticky notes and putting them in my wallet. Then I realized I never call those people and they never send me cards so I bought a new wallet but only moved my driver’s license to the wallet.

    Now I mostly communicate with people via email. I know so 90’s…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was the PR person and Communications Director of our family so I had to keep everything current. Actually, I wanted to. And, after all these years, I’m glad I did! I do Email and Facebook and text. That’s about it. I tried Instagram, but didn’t understand it and Google+ just seemed like a redundancy to Facebook. I like Twitter, but I don’t personally “tweet”. I use it to keep track of current news, weather, sports teams and my fav cycling peeps! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. When I got married, I created a post card file with everyone’s name on a single post card. In one corner I had a code for coming to the wedding or not, and how many. On the back of the card, the gift received, or gifts if they came to my bridal shower. This set of cards became my address file for years, similar to yours, with cross outs and additions! Oh, the good old days! I still used this deck this year for my Christmas Cards, before checking my electronic files, because I love seeing the memories. And yes, I too had some cross-outs this year. Deleting and adding electronically just doesn’t have any feeling in it. I’m not sure when I will give up my post card deck.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love it that you are still using your post card deck! That actually seems way more efficient than an address book – you must be a natural organizer Pat! There’s just something about physically handling paper stuff that gives a satisfaction that digital records don’t right? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I love my old paper address book – i still use it for physical addresses. Even in the digital form i have never deleted or crossed out those that have died, can’t seem to bring myself to do that. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks much! It’s hard to delete the names of those who’ve passed… But I print my address labels from my address book and I sure would have sending a card to Mr. & Mrs. when Mr. went over the rainbow 10 months ago. Ouch! I can totally see me doing that if I didn’t delete it!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Kind of a Twitter type of biography/autobiography ” a priceless analogy. Come on, join me in the 21st century. You can keep a whole diary of information on your “cloud” that you can access anytime, anywhere.
    Just kidding, we are all getting older. Hang in there no telling what other new fangled invention we’ll have to learn or be taught to use by our young whipper snappers! Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this. I have kept all my address books, since 18. They are a history of friendship, relationships, relocations. So many cross-outs. I also have my 6 page Christmas card list…on yellow legal pad paper. ☺☺☺

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You absolutely have a point with those paper address books. Maybe I should transfer my recent computer list to paper. First, this will make one realise, just who belongs into a proper booklet, and who is just one of those fit for data heaps. And second, the changes or crossings out stay visible, there you have a made a real point…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on my post! Honestly, after writing it, I have been thinking of doing the same thing. I love your referring to “data heaps”! 🙂 Plus, the contact app I use is kinda crazy – I’ll have three or four entries for some person with different pieces of their contact info. Nuts – I think it hiccups sometimes…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My dad has an address book too, so does my mom. I think my husband may have on in hiding as well. So you’re not alone and the art of writing things down isn’t completely lost.

    As for getting out your Holiday cards by Easter, I’m on the receiving side of that equation. One of my friends never gets her cards out on time.. and sometimes I get them around feb/march — but its totally ok. I love that she takes the time to write a personal note and never forgets me! I kept all her cards and you can literally see her kids growing up over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for missing me!! You are so sweet! I’m on another trip now so probably – AGAIN – won’t get a post done this week. I’m the delinquent of WordPress U!!

      Glad to hear your family hasn’t lost the art of scribing! It cheers my somewhat shriveled heart that memories are still being kept!

      It’s funny – I printed my holiday letter (catching everybody up on 2015) and then made something like 60 copies on beautiful snowflake paper and signed each one, but now I want to totally change the letter. I think I’ll take a cue from your friend and write a note on the back to each person instead! So they’ll probably get sent by April… 🙂

      Have you read The Boys in the Boat? My bookstore friend highly recommends it!


  8. I can so relate to this ‘address book’ thing … Due to space considerations and major moves, I have discarded older paper address books — with some regrets if only to help my aging memory recall: “what was the name of that guy my grade school best friend married?” etc. This especially comes into play now that I have moved back to my hometown after many years away …
    and I am with you on here’s to more additions than deletions in 2016. Happy new year to you and keep these posts coming.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I still have my late mother’s address book. A year or so before she passed away, she told me she wanted me to contact her friends when she died to let them know. Her book looked exactly like yours—names and addresses written in ink and crossed out or added to in the margins. I had no idea whose address was current or even if they were still alive. It reminded me of an episode from the sitcom “The Nanny” where Fran and her Grandma Yetta are going through an old photo album together. Every time Fran points out someone, Yetta says “Dead.” They get to one photo where Fran says “Dead?” and Yetta says, “No, but she should be.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! What was it Billy Joel said, only the good die young! I’m so cantankerous that I’ll probably live to be 100! 🙂

      I feel very bad that when my dad passed away, I only contacted a couple of people. I didn’t go through his address book and try to get in touch with all of the folks in it. 2000 was one of those really awful years and I think I wasn’t really thinking straight. I feel kinda bad that letters and cards sent to him got returned to the senders with No Longer At This Address written over the front of the envelope. 😦 I probably should go get some therapy about that!


  10. I’m writing this from those ancient olden times you mentioned. Still have the pink flowered address book I inherited from my Mom. It has a ragged corner where our rescue Malamute chewed on it fifteen years ago. In the back are Mom’s old address pages, written in big block letters, by me, so she could read them as she was blind in one eye and nearly so in the other. It’s full of the names and addresses of her generation of family and friends, almost all gone, most whom I knew to one degree or another growing up. It’s a history text in a very personal way. I just got a Christmas card returned unopened that I sent my aging aunt in the Mid West whom I haven’t spoken to in almost a year. I will call her son tomorrow and hope it is just that they moved her to another facility, but I have a sneaking suspicion it’s something more. She’s the last Aunt in our family. I Loved your post. It felt so timely to read it today after finding Aunt Rita’s card returned in the mail. You put into words my feelings when I open that address book to do my own cards, living as I am, in those ancient olden times!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Really like this post. Just the other day I was remembering my mom’s Rolodex and how big a deal it was when she graduated to a Franklin Planner. She’s been gone almost 15 years but my sister’s and I still, on occasion, reference Ol’ Frankie to catch up with people, cross out names (sadly) and update info. You are correct – the physical interaction with a written accounting of family/friends/trusted professionals (e.g., plumbers/electricians/lawyers) is by far a superior experience to plugging info to an app. Nice memories. Thanks AGMA! Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome! And thanks for taking the time to share your memories! I too switched over to a Franklin Planner and the same thing happened as with my earlier address books – scratched out addresses, changed names, additions in the margins. Hey – maybe we should invent a contacts app that will mimic a “real” address book! We could probably make hundreds… 😉 But it still wouldn’t be the same right?

      Happy New Year back at you Nug and I hope 2016 has started out in a glorious way!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’d definitely follow AGMA if she tweeted! We’ve missed you AGMA and I honestly find keeping your contacts on a book so intimate and personal, we young one’s could learn a few things from doing that actually.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awww – shucks Lwazi… You’re making me blush!! Thanks!!

      And believe it or not – I actually do have two Twitter accounts – one as me (as a mild mannered 60 something cycling fanatic, travel nut, marathon running massage therapist – my AGMA alter ego) and one for my business. But I’m TERRIBLE at tweeting! 🙂 Us geezers could learn a few things from you young’uns!!

      An AGMA Twitter account…. Hmmm…. Now you have me thinking…


    • Holy cow Magarisa – how incredibly flattering!! Thank you! I think that is pretty much the highest praise a blogger can get – recognition from fellow bloggers! It aways humbles me…

      That being said, I have to tell you that I am not good at following the directions on these blogging awards. I’m awful actually. So PLEASE don’t think I am not appreciative if I don’t do what I’m supposed to. It’s just AGMA being AGMA.

      Thank you again so much! It’s such an honor!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Holy cow or holy ass? 😉 You’re so welcome, AGMA!
        I can totally relate to being awful at following the rules of blogging awards. This is actually the first time I’ve followed the directions to a T, and it felt really awkward. There are a couple of awards I haven’t ‘officially’ accepted because I don’t want to follow the rules (we are both such rebels ;-)). So, I definitely won’t hold it against you for not writing an acceptance post/following the directions. I fully accept AGMA for being AGMA! -)


      • You’re so right – it’s Holy Ass! What was I thinking?? Thanks much for understanding and for being a fellow rebel! But I am still INCREDIBLY flattered by your wonderful gesture! As it says in Ecclesiastes (gee that’s tough to spell!), to everything there is a season… I might move into a season where I do the award thing. I think the older I get, the more I realize that it’s okay to be flexible and change and try new things (like following the rules for blogging awards!) THANK YOU again!!


  13. I thoroughly enjoyed this post! Made me regret dumping my old paper address books. But then, I recall looking at a couple of names and thinking “who the hell WAS that!” So maybe I don’t need a reminder of how my memory has turned to mush after all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I totally get it! But I actually go through that with my contacts app. I honestly don’t know who about 15% to 20% of the people are… I’ll be scrolling through looking for something and I see a name and I say “who the hell is that?” The moral of the story: a mushy memory cannot be supressed! 🙂


    • Exactly Linda! After writing that post and reading peoples comments, I am seriously thinking of going back to a paper address book.

      Funny – a friend gave me a lovely one a few months ago that she bought in England and I remember thinking “I’ll never use that…” Perhaps the Universe has other ideas and was preparing the way??

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I too, prefer paper over digital and for all the reasons you have listed. Our memories disappear faster every day. It’s nice to have a tangible prompt to remind of the people who have crossed our paths and influenced our lives. Thanks for sharing a wonderful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for taking the time to read AGMA and comment Sheila! And thank you for the lovely compliment!

      I just like to have fun with my blog – I’m not a “real” writer. But when you have a rich topic like this, I think the post almost writes itself! Thank goodness…

      Thank you again and stop by again!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my you are sweet and I need voices like yours Sheila! I had been told all though school that I wasn’t a writer so I accepted that never tried to write other than the normal life “stuff”. Then, when I was zeroing in on 60, I just decided I wanted to try starting a blog. And I just decided to write like I spoke and if folks liked it then good. If not then that was okay as well.

        But writing doesn’t come naturally to me and when I have an idea, it takes a while to make it’s way to paper even though it’s only 1000 words. I write and rewrite and rewrite. That’s why I only post once a week (on a good week!) It’s definitely a labor (hours and hours) of love, but it has brought me a lot of joy. And I’ve “met” some amazing people in the blogging community. It was a good decision!

        Thank you so much again for your encouargement!


  15. I have been behind on everything too.. although I did get my Christmas cards out before Christmas 😉 Now I’m playing catch up on all of my reading. I haven’t posted on my blog in about 3 weeks.. yikes…
    This post hit home with me. I still have my old paper address book too.. one from high school.. with it’s crossed out lines and notes. I don’t use it any more, I’ve switched to an app as well.. but I can’t bring myself to throw it away. Just like I can’t delete DAD from the phone contact “Mom and Dad” on my phone and he passed three years ago. It’s just comforting to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

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