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I think I might just do it this year. I might replace my old and tattered address book.
I’m not the one to make New Year’s resolutions, because I can make lifestyle changes anytime during the year. However, changing to a new address book is a momentous undertaking, and the beginning of a new year seems the perfect time for it.
Several years ago, I read an article advising that if your address book had many crossed-through entries, loose pages and contained addresses of more than 10 dead relatives or friends, then you should buy a new book, transfer only current addresses into it and move on with your life.
My address book meets all the above criteria, in addition to be duct taped together. I have been resisting the advice to buy a new one for several years because my address book is so much more than a book of addresses.
Inadvertently, it has become a memory book and family chronicle. I remember receiving the telephone call in 1994 that my uncle, Noddy Torbeck, had died. The address book being handy, I sadly noted the date of his death beside his address and telephone number.
The entry for a high school friend, Gail Haferbecker Clark, of Lisle, has two addresses, several phone numbers and names of her two sons. We still exchange Christmas cards, although our history goes back 45 years.
Gail’s father was an air traffic controller, and this landed him in Fayette County. For a year or so, the family lived in Brownstown, and then Vandalia, where we became fast friends.
Before we could graduate together in 1969, her father took a job at Midway Airport in Chicago, and the family relocated.
After graduation, I moved to Springfield, and Gail, who was living in Northern Illinois at the time, joined me. She lived in Springfield about a year before she again moved north, later married and started her family. Now, our children are mostly grown, and although our main contact is the annual Christmas card, a friendship remains.
For my older sister and brother, their anniversary dates are included so I can remember when to send greeting cards. The inception of "Enhanced 911" is also noted in my book, with route and box number being exchanged for roads, trails, avenues and places.
In this address book, I followed my cousin around the Eastern United States as graduate school and employment took her from Muncie, Ind., to Hatfield and Pittsburgh, Pa., and on to Dublin, Ohio.
An address on an orange piece of paper, taped to a page in the book, brings to mind a trip I took with Mary Truitt to Indiana in 1998 during the Covered Bridge Festival.
The previous fall, a gentleman by the name of Bill Kiger visited Vandalia and asked for a tour of The Little Brick House museum. He had restored a similar structure in Indiana, and by the end of the tour, had extended an invitation to visit.
I remember that particular weekend I was awaiting results of a mammogram. I didn’t know then that I had a form of aggressive breast cancer. Didn’t know my life was about to change.
So, as I said, my duct-taped address book is much more than a book of addresses. It is a book of both good and not-so-good memories ... a chronicle of the past 20 or so years in the life of my family.
Yes, I think I might just do it this year. I’m ready to move on, and although I will replace the old book, I think I’ll tuck it, along with the memories it contains, in a drawer.