It’s all there, in the card file box. Where did S & M live in ’95? Did A & P ever live in KS? When was C born and what is her birthday? What did M and Y bring for Thanksgiving last year? What are the directions to C & I’s house?
My dad kept a file box recording the addresses of family and friends alike. He also, recorded a check mark indicating yes, he had sent a Christmas card. He wanted to be sure he had remembered everyone on the Christmas card list.
When it was time for me to gather addresses and record details I didn’t want to forget, I adopted his system, too. It has lasted throughout the years of my married life. First, I purchased a bright orange box and then it grew to a slightly over-sized green box. I keep 3×5 cards handy and everyone is filed alphabetically. Only physical addresses are catalogued. If folks had a change of address, I simply X’d out the former address and added the new. I haven’t discarded the old information because sometimes it boosts my memory — for example, it has reminded me of where C was born.
Forward to the present. If a gift needs to be bought for graduation, birthday or Christmas, I simply take the card out, carry it with me and have the address handy to mail a package. Then I file it back after the letter of their last name. Everyone is not filed in true alpha order–but still, I know they are there, and it doesn’t take long to go through the cards and find them.
Any correspondence is a chance to update and confirm addresses. If there’s a change – snip, snip, I cut out the upper left side of the envelope and tape it onto an index card with a notation of the year I recorded it. It works for us.
Daughter #2 needed an address yesterday. She has thank you notes to write. “What is A’s address? I know you must have it in the card file.” Rick asks, “Do you think you can find that address in the card file?”
We’re planning Thanksgiving again this year. My SIL who recently retired, really retired, has time and has generously offered to send out the invites.
“Do you think you can go through the card file and make me a list?” So I will gather up the cards and copy them on a copier, scan and send. Here is the old meeting the new technology. As family and friends came to visit, I’d hand them a card and ask them to update their address and phone number, e-mail too, in their own handwriting. Or, at my mother’s house, she will record an address in her handwriting.
If the proverbial “house were ever to burn down” I think I would grab photos and the card file!
In the back under Miscellaneous I have two more cards. One lists who brings what for Thanksgiving. So as folks ask “What shall I bring?” I can refer back to it and suggest they bring the red cabbage, succotash, green beans, chess pie or home made rolls that they have brought before. Another card, has my Thanksgiving morning schedule so at each half hour we keep the show on the road with no detours, stress or loss of memory. No, I don’t want to forget the mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, ambrosia, gravy or cranberries–so many details, and thankfully it’s on the card!