Friday, December 30, 2011

Turning the pages, turning of the years... Address Book Memories

I have often helped my 91 year old mom address her Christmas cards.  This year was a bit different from times before.  It is always so heartwarming to sit at her table by the window and talk about how lucky we are to be so close.  Two weeks ago when I sat in my spot, she had placed a rubber band bound stack of tiny address books by the cards. These were address books that I had not seen in decades.  The familiarity of them tugged very deeply at my heart and brought back memories of my own, even sounds and scents of our home from decades ago. I remember being a little girl and pulling out one of them to look up an address of an aunt or cousin for my own notes.  I imagined the memories my mother must have  when she flipped through the pages of each one.  A couple of them were "before my time"and full of names and details from as far back as the 1930's.  It was precious to hear her recall who some people were and where they lived and how she knew them.  It was dramatic to see how many had been crossed out because they had died, more like they had passed on but not forgotten - their place and time recorded in her book.  The covers of the address books were worn by love and use, and the material and design reflected an era.  

We addressed the few envelopes that she would send this year, and enjoyed the minutes of reading through names and places.  It was a special surprise to go through her "Princess Gardner" spiral bound photo book to see the tiny black and white images she had stored their from her younger years.  This was the collection that would have fit into her "billfold" in her purse and traveled with her  everywhere so that she could share her photos with pride. There was something very warm and personal about holding these in my hands, and seeing them in hers. The collection of years of friends and family, comings and goings and staying connected through expressions of love.  Thank you, Mom, for reminding me of how such a simple thing can mean so much.   

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