Stalking friends

address-bk-pages

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!