Old Address Books Tell a Story

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Old address books like old calendars can tell a story. Not everyone writes in theirs or saves the old ones, but those who do have a piece of their history preserved. The one in this photo was started in 1990 by my parents who lived in a small rural town in North Dakota. Now, 20 years old, this address book contains all of my addresses since then (5) as well as a name change when I got married in 1991. I’m glad to say that neither has since changed since 1994 when we moved into our current home.

Years ago I read an article in Mary Englebreit’s Home Companion magazine (no longer in print) where Darci Smith wrote about old address books and how her mother kept the same two address books from her marriage in 1965 to the article’s publication in 2003. Ms. Smith wrote of her mother’s worn and tattered address books held together by a rubber band, “Their many scrawls and cross-outs form a map of the human heart.”

In addition to having a snapshot in history of people and places, I also have both of my parent’s handwriting in one place. Hopefully my children and their children will value this too.

What stories does your address book tell?

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  1. James on March 8, 2010 at 4:54 am

    This post makes me a little ashamed to admit it, but I don't keep an address book. Important addresses are written down at random in a moleskine I carry everywhere, or are entered into my BlackBerry. What happens when I fill the journal and/or get a new phone? I'm not sure just yet. Maybe an address book is in my future.

  2. Jennie Hinchcliff on March 8, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    My address book is like a tiny little history of all the different people I've known and all the places they have lived. Some folks have numerous "scratch-outs" associated with their names. Other people have a single entry, no changes whatsoever. I think it is fascinating, how the entries in my address book seem to reflect the personalities of the people listed.

    Thanks for a great post. I'm enjoying all your writings very much!

  3. The Pen Warrior on March 9, 2010 at 10:42 am

    I have had various address books over the years but somehow they have ended up being replaced as they have become older and tatty. I never though about the significance of keeping them until I read this post and will endeavour to do so now many thanks.

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