It was Adèle Geras who got in first. I knew that as soon as I had tidied up my address book, someone would move house. As the tidying happens, you know that it won’t be long, but you don’t know who will be the first to ‘break ranks’. And Adèle’s name, beautiful though it is, begins with a G. So do most of the other surnames in my address book.
Anyway, I discovered the need to cross out and make a mess, when I was writing my Christmas cards. I write fewer cards every year, preferring instead to send e-cards. Saves money. Saves trees. I could of course save money and trees by not sending cards to people I barely know. Do other people send cards to virtual strangers?
I can’t decide which of my recipients is the most farfetched. How about my late aunt’s English teacher? My aunt was 93 when she died eight years ago, and no, that does not make the teacher 125. We renewed our acquaintance at the funeral. And I believe she enjoys hearing from me.
Or is it the niece of the Australian woman I met in an Italian restaurant in London in the 1970s? Basically, D the elder was another of those who enjoyed contact after what was her trip of a lifetime. As she got older she could no longer write, so her niece D the younger wrote on her behalf. And just because D the elder died, I can’t just break off writing to D the younger.
The lady we bought our house from keeps moving, but she still gets a Christmas card. So does the man who was walk leader on the holiday when the Resident IT Consultant was unfortunate enough to encounter a witch.
For years my in-law family had three ladies by the same first and surname. One remarried, so now it’s only two, but I still get confused. And I’m the one who as a child knew by heart the addresses, postcodes, telephone numbers and dates of birth for every relative and friend. I still would, if people weren’t inconsiderate enough to move house or marry. I don’t want change!
Just over ten years ago I acquired a whole new set of relatives, mostly with a surname beginning with a G. That part of the address book was quite full as it was, thank you. Those who were married, decided to revert to their maiden name. The one beginning with a G. Most have moved house since. One of them seems to move every 18 months.
Then there’s religion. Swedes have less of a tradition of religious cards. But the vicar’s widow likes them. So, send religious cards or not? Is it my beliefs or the recipient’s that matter? And the stamps! Now you have to choose between religious and not. Will I offend someone by picking the wrong kind? If you recall, I’m not close to those on my Christmas card list.
So you’ll forgive me for not sending you a card, won’t you? I know you too well.