During my most recent visit to Ohio, I came across some old address books. One appeared to have belonged to my mother from eons ago and the other was my grandparents’ that she kept after they passed away.
I learned a few things by thumbing through the pages of these books. The first was that my grandfather was a very meticulous person. He actually typed up addresses and pasted them in at the correct spots alphabetically. When someone died, he would cross out their name and mark “Decased” along with a date. That only helps me when it was a relative yet it gets me wondering how my grandparents felt each time a long-time friend or a relative died. There it was in black and white (and sometimes red pencil) – subtracting each friend from their life – through the pages of an address book.
Another thing I learned was that my grandfather actually had addresses for relatives I wasn’t sure he had ever met. I was unsure if he had met his Aunt Rachel’s family until I saw names and addresses listed. At the very least they corresponded once a year with a Christmas card.
My mother’s old address book was a little different. Not many addresses were marked through with “Deceased” but because of the person moving to a new residence. That was a big difference between the two books. Most of the people my grandparents knew stayed in the same place and the only changes were either closer to a child or to a nursing home as they aged or to sunny places such as Florida, California or Arizona. The people my mother tracked moved due to military service, new job offers, a change of scenery, etc.
Isn’t it amazing what a few pages from address books can tell you? Not only about the people written in the pages but the person who kept up with it?