I set mom’s address/phone book aside about two months ago when we first started cleaning out our parents home of 60 years. She had always kept her cookbooks, hotpads, and address book in a drawer under her wall oven in the kitchen which was in close proximity to their wall phone and kitchen table. That’s where most all conversations took place, whether you were visiting in person or just calling them. In fact, a trivial note, in September when I contacted the phone company to cancel their phone service the representative said dad was one of just two of their oldest customers whose records go back 60 years without changing their phone number or address. Not as infamous as the 1941 Glenn Miller Band’s swing jazz song “Pennsylvania 6-5000” or Tommy Tutone’s 1981 pop song “867-5309/Jenny,” but definitely a famous phone number in our family that we will equally remember.
But I digress. Still in the midst of reorganizing my home office I picked up mom’s address/phone book that had been laying on my desk all this time looking for a permanent place to land. Once again I paused my task at hand to look through it just to see how relevant the entries might be or what stories might come to mind upon reading the names. Sadly enough, I was struck that most of the 110 entries of family, friends, and businesses were no longer pertinent. In fact, 92 percent (72) of mom’s family and friends already have passed, either before or after her death in 2018. Of the 32 businesses that they regularly dealt with, 75 percent (24) are now defunct.
These findings drove home the fact that nothing lives forever and our lives in this world are always changing, whether we like it or not. Life and death changes are not always in our control.
One other immediate observation, however, many of the names of people included in this book were members of Mount Calvary Church and the fraternal organization of the Knights of Columbus, both in Forestville, MD. My parents were deeply involved with people in these communities and their lives were much enriched by them and vice versa, I’m sure. By the time they were in their late eighties they were physically forced to limit activities with these people and organizations. And, the limits placed on their lives at this point, took away a lot of the important and quality times they had had over the previous three decades.
My posts usually don’t have a moral to them. But please remember all of us are here only for a short while before we become no longer relevant in this world. If you have not yet developed lasting friendships and enjoyable activities, it’s time to find and build community and to add more purpose and quality to your life.
And, as for mom’s address/phone book, I guess it’s time for me to say goodbye to it, for it served its purpose for a time, and its time has now come to a close.