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Reading through Mom's old address book is like going back in time, Pamela Loxley Drake writes.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeThe old address book. It bulged with small slips of paper that were layered on each page.

The book was years old. A history of all the people who passed through the farm. A family tree of perhaps a hundred families or more.

Who would want Mom's old address book? The older two Loxley girls did not want the old book. So, for some curious reason, I took it.

Little did I realize the treasure I brought home from the farm back the lane.

Mom had crossed out old addresses. As she did, she added the new addresses on the front and back of the tab until the tab was full. Ages of children were recorded, as well as how much they grew. The young children named in the family tab grew up and got a tab of their own listing their own children.

It was indeed a history of a country family and the lives they touched and those that touched them. Dates of births, dates of deaths, dates of weddings filled the tabs lined up on each page.

For me, this book was full of memories. Old schoolteachers. Old music teachers. Relatives long gone who were perhaps only a vague memory of mine. The church family, the neighbors, people all over the world — all resided in Mom's address book.

None of these people would have any idea how much she cared about them and their unfolding lives.

If anyone had a question of who lived where or when, Mom had the answers at the tip of her fingers. The pages were worn and sometime torn. She used red pen, pencil, anything that just happened to be close when needed. I can imagine her looking through the book and recalling wonderful times. It captured hers and Dad's memories.

I must admit that I cried when I read through the book. In fact, it still touches me. The remnants of so many lives were captured and cherished by my parents.

I have no address book. I have contacts in my computer. Old addresses were tossed into the trash and new addresses typed in their places.

Sometimes, I think perhaps technology has robbed us of memories. There are no scribbles of births, no notes of deaths and no new pages of married couples.

We begin a new year looking forward with hope for better times. We will add new contacts and eliminate others. But perhaps we should think of that old address book.

Hm. I wonder if they still make them?

Sometimes older is better.

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl."

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