Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Address Book=Book of Memories

During yet another cleaning project (one of many started but not yet finished) I found my mother's address book, the old fashioned hand written kind of address book with people's old contact information crossed out and the new information written below.

From what I can tell she used the book from sometime in the early 1940s until her death in 1965 when she was 51 years old.. It is, of course, special to me because it was my mother's and is filled with her handwriting. It is special on another level because of the memories I have some of the names and places she entered into the book. Though there are many names I don't know at all there are others that bring back a rush of memories.

Cascia Hall was on of several high schools that my brother attended in our hometown, Tulsa, Oklahoma, that at some point "asked him to leave". If I remember correctly in this case my brother got in trouble for getting between a teacher and a student the teacher was paddling, unfairly my brother thought. Not to worry, things turned out well for my brother. He ended up with a P.hD and is still willing to stand up against something he thinks is wrong.

My Aunt Dorothy was a very cool woman who lived in a very elegant area in Chicago about 1/2 block off Michigan Avenue. Though I wasn't, I thought I was pretty cool when I got to go visit her. 

Tippy LaGrave (isn't that a fun name?) was a friend of my mother's who had no children of her own. When I was 7 or 8 she started taking me to the ballet and the symphony and other such performances that I probably would not have otherwise had as much exposure to. I just Googled her and found out her real first name was Agnes....I kind of wish I hadn't found that out.

The Van Sants were friends of my parents that we visited from time to time in Colorado. I think he and my dad had been Army buddies during WWII. I remember them living on a farm that had a cherry orchard. My first snow skiing experiences were during visits to the Van Sants. This was so long ago that the skis were six feet long and made of wood. 

Chloe (Snell) Key was a lifelong friend of my mother. My mother told stories of having to sneak out of her house to see Chloe because Chloe was an Indian and there was a great deal of prejudice against Indians in the small Oklahoma town where they lived during the time they were growing up. Her parents would not have approved of the friendship. One of the things I can say about both of my parents is that neither of them ever showed any kind of racial or cultural prejudice toward anyone.

More names, more memories, but that is enough for now.

I do have an old, handwritten address book that I use sometimes but it is far from up to date since I keep so much of that information on my computer or my phone. I wonder what my kids will think about it if they find it sometime in the future.

Do you keep a handwritten address book or is it all electronic these days?


  1. What a great reason for being thrown out of school!

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  2. Speaking of Tulsa and "Indians" I thought you might like this story.

  3. I loved your post! I find that type of thing. I do keep a handwritten address book but trust me, mine is not nearly as interesting as your Mom's. . .Now, I too want to know how Agnes became Tippy. Hmmmmm. Mystery.

  4. I recognize that last town, Okmulgee. I was born 14 miles away in Henryetta. There has always been a large Indian population in that area since Okmulgee is a tribal capital of the Creek nation. I did a little history search the other night regarding a great aunt. I found some really cool stuff. I need to post it. Have a blessed week.

  5. I loved your post too and I loved actually seeing your mom's handwriting. It is very similar to my mom's. I agree with joeh--what a great reason to be thrown out of school. Agnes to Tippy---would love to hear that story. I think people of that generation often had given names but went by something totally different. I had an aunt Clarice from that era who always went by Bill. I do have a handwritten address book but I fear mine will be the last generation --- my kids have everything store on phones or their computer. I do too but still have to have my handwritten info. :) I fear my grandchildren will not be able to read anything I have written down. By the time my newborn grandson is in school probably cursive won't be taught anywhere.

  6. What a treasure, Jeanie! It's a blessing you found that address book before it got damaged or accidentally tossed out with the trash. Tippy LaGrave would have made a good stage name for a vintage starlet of the silver screen, wouldn't it? My parents did lots of scrapbooking and I am fortunate to have similar documents in my possession. My mother also owned a diary belonging to a man who wrote entries in it between 1901 and 1903! It was a fascinating portal to life as it was at the turn of the 20th century.

    Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend Jeanie!

  7. What a treasure you found, Jeanie! I enjoyed reading about the people you featured here; I love your brother's willingness to step up when he thought injustice was being done with that student. And your mother's befriending of someone others would shun. What great memories!

    My mom kept an address book; hubby's parents had something similar; I remember looking through it and seeing all the different crossed out addresses/telephone numbers for hubby and me since we moved so often.

    Keep cleaning out, who knows what else you might find!!


  8. Mine is handwritten. I guess I am old fashioned.

  9. What a treasure! I doubt your mother had no idea her address book would be of so much value to you. I'll have to ask my own mother to hang on to hers for me! I don't keep a book because I always ran out of room for each entry. Several years ago I started to keep a recipe card box with recipe cards for each person. I also just cross out the old address and write in the new underneath. At the bottom of the card I write children's names and birth dates. I kind of like being able to see the progression of people's lives as they move, especially my grown children's.

  10. What a priceless treasure! I also know someone who's handwriting is very similar to your mom's. I don't have an address book, but I do have scrapbooks that I look at from time to time. Enjoy the memories of these people who were a part of your life!
    (Isn't Google amazing?)

  11. Did you say your mom died when she was 51 - that must have been so hard for you. Nice to have her address book.

  12. My mother's address book is a small white book with gold embossed lettering on the cover. Her precious handwriting inside and the notations she has made by the names is pure treasure. I know exactly how you feel about your mother's. Birthday cards and letters from my mother are also treasures that I can never part with. I would guess that Okmulgee still does not have a very large population of Native Americans but is now primarily African American other than the students attending OSU Technical college which is very diverse in ethnic backgrounds..

  13. You are so lucky to have this -- I wish I still had my mom's. Dad's too -- that could be in a box somewhere. I DO keep a written address book. I always pick a pretty one and it's probably time for a new one. My problem -- I have a hard time crossing out the addresses of those no longer with us (I can't delete their email either -- separation issues). Consequently, it is getting a little full.It has all sorts of things stuck in it -- return addresses from envelopes, mailing labels, stamps, notes on birthdays or emails. Sometime this year I'll need to transfer into a new one, but I'll keep the old. And this is why Rick worries about me being a hoarder!

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  15. I no longer keep a handwritten address book. It's all on my computer these days. I think I might have my old one still, and it really does bring back memories. It's wonderful that you have your mom's address book. That will always be a precious keepsake.

  16. I no longer keep a handwritten address book. I still have my old ones, and I have my old rolodex file from work. I also have a lot of business cards I collected when I was working. I could never throw them out. I'm sure my kids will after I am gone.

    In many ways these old handwritten address books are so important for one doing family history. They record where family members lived. I was thinking as I read your post that if (a big if) someone in Ft. Collins saw your mom's address book that recorded her friend's address and happened to live in that same house now, they would probably love seeing the name of whom once lived in that house and a little history about them.

  17. Good Morning Chick!
    I DO have a hand written address book, and it is way out of date.
    Now you have made me think I better update it!