Monday, August 16, 2010

Life's Archive



Recently my daughter Katie received an email informing her of her college mailing address and dorm room phone number. When she gave me a copy of that information, at first I wasn't sure what to do with it. Where should I record it? Then it occurred to me. I should put it in my address book. That felt very surreal me. My daughter would have her own entry in my address book. The first of many addresses I will record for her, I'm sure. More than getting her driver's license, or getting accepted to college, or turning 18 (which she did this past weekend) - writing her name and her very own address in my address book made it official to me that she is now a grown up. It caught me off guard. Recording a separate address for my own child really symbolizes for me that she is beginning her own life, separate from that of our family. Wow! That feels really, really strange.

After giving Katie her very own entry in my address book, I absent-mindedly flipped through the pages and realized that an address book is really an archive of one's life. Coincidentally, I bought this address book when I was a newly married young woman beginning my new life with my new husband. So this particular address book is really a record of my married life. I read through the names and addresses of both my and my husband's relatives, our college friends home addresses and then later their own addresses as they moved out on their own. And I even recorded the names of their children as they were added to their families. There are the names of neighbors and friends from our life in AZ, Girl Scout leaders, Bunco and book club members, and even a couple we met on a cruise and stayed in touch with for a few years. Some of the people listed there are no longer alive, but seeing their names in my address book brings them to mind and reminds me of their importance in my life. It was such a wonderful walk down memory lane to read those names from my present and my past. Many of them I haven't thought about it years, but there they all were. Reminders of my relationships and friends from my past. Which reminded me of all the stages of my married life - our first home in a rented condo and the friends we made there. The first home we bought and the women I met at the neighborhood playground. Right up to the newest entry - my very own Katie. And it occurred to me, my address book is really a history of my life.

A few days ago Katie came home from the local bookstore with a brand spanking new address book of her own. She wants to fill it with all her high school friends and relatives before she goes off to college. I advised her to fill it in in pencil, so she can change the addresses as her friends embark on their very own journeys to independence. Someday I hope Katie can look back on her address book and reminisce about her own life's journey. I wonder how she will feel when she has to write the name of her son or daughter on their very own space in her address book. My guess is that it will be a combination of pride and wistfulness.

10 comments:

Danielle said...

I put my college friends' parents addresses (the place we'd all go home to eventually) in pencil and then post it noted on top as they changed almost every year, sometimes every three months...

Danielle said...

OHhh I forgot,, I also asked people when their birthday was so that I'd remember. Now I send myself a gmail two weeks before their bday so I have time to remember and forget to send them a birthday card a few times.

Janie B said...

That was a big moment for you. I remember doing that the first time, too.

LindyLouMac said...

A great post Pam, you are so right our address books are a historical record of our lives. I think that is why I continue to use our old one despite having been given a new one as a gift when we moved to Italy! I have found quite a few friends I had lost contact with on FB that were still in my address book at old addresses! Thanks for your comments on my blog, it is lovely to have you as a follower now and I hope to tempt you to make that trip one day.

Anita said...

OH Pam, this brought tears to my eyes. I have looked at my own old address books(several) a few times, and I guess I just went techno and now it's mostly online, kind of risky I guess.
I love this image of you and Katie, making new entries, starting new journeys. Here come the tears again....much to be happy and sentimental about in all this.

Star Forbis said...

This is very strange to think about, that our kids will have a different address that us. I don't think that should be allowed. :)

Jo said...

While my 20 year old son goes to college locally, I also have a 24 year old daughter who lives on her own nearby and whom it also pains me to have to look up her address just to touch base with her....

We've been estranged for years, sadly, and my efforts to connect have been thwarted by her.

Dear lady, your heart will heal every time you pick up the phone and hear your daughters sweet, sometimes exhausted & exasperated, enthusiastic voice and you will take comfort that she is but a phone call away beginning her lifes process as an adult.

I envy that and wish you and her many memories, phone calls, E-mails, cards & letters.

One day I hope to know the same.

What an adventure she's about to embark on -- wishing many happy days for her and a quick healing of 'Empty nest' for you.

Peace and serenity,
~Jo
'The End Of The Rainbow: Life After Bankruptcy'

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

For some reason, I bought tiny address books and then had to replace them many times. But I do carry forward the names and addresses of at least some people not because I plan to contact them but because, as you say, the book is an archive of people who were once important to me.

Kristy said...

That would be weird! Hmm, what a poignant moment for you.

Meri said...

What a milestone for each of you -- you, understanding viscerally that your beloved child is leaving home, with all that entails for both of you emotionally; her, creating a trail of friends in a little book that proves she's making her own mark in the world.

 

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