Lists for remembering

This is probably a symptom of my OCD, but I’ve been motivated lately to create a list all of the addresses and telephone numbers at which I’ve resided throughout my life.  When I was applying to my present employer, I had to list my addresses for the past five years, and it was a little difficult for me to fill in some of those blanks.  Of course, there WERE four different addresses for me to write down, but it was disturbing not to be able to recall the ZIP code for our home in Highland Township, and I couldn’t quite remember of which big airliner the Saline house number reminded me.

Same thing with my working resumé: It’s morphed, through the years, into an abbreviated and truncated list of jobs I’ve held during the past 10 years. It’s by no means comprehensive, and sometimes I feel like I should go back and include every single job I’ve ever worked at, if only for laughs–and of course so that I don’t forget them. God forbid I should forget one of my jobs. God forbid I should forget ANYTHING AT ALL.

Thus I decided it was vital for me to create a list of all my previous addresses, so that if I ever forgot where I had lived, I could look it up.

Why this is important, I can’t really verbalize, but collecting data has always been comforting to me. Plus making a list to be archived against forgetfulness is proactive, so even if I do have the beginnings of Alzheimer’s I’ll have a head start on my personal encyclopedia.

That’s a little morbid, isn’t it?

For the first 22 years of my life, I stayed in one spot, at my family’s ancestral home.  I got married and moved in with my first wonderful husband to a little, rented kit-chalet near Harbor Springs, filing my first change of address form at the United States Postal Service.  And then things got crazy, address-wise.

Wonderful Hubby #1 was killed in a car accident just seven months after we married.  I was pretty much in shock for the next few years, and my address records reflect that. Like a forlorn gypsy, I moved from the chalet back to my mother’s house, and then into my friends’ house in Traverse City, then into my own apartment in Traverse City.

From there, I moved down to St. Clair to live with my sister, who was beginning her own household relocation and reorganization, and we moved once again, together. Eventually I moved in with The Wonderful Pumpkin and we stayed in that apartment for a little while.

No household moves at all for my first 22 years, then six moves within three years. I got good at moving, knew what to pack and what to leave out, when to file the change of address, and how to re-file just to make sure nothing got overlooked.

Part of me thinks it’s not necessary to have a list of all one’s previous places of residence, but the OCD side wants to know exactly what the house numbers and street names were, what the home telephone number was. The OCD Kara has moved from saving actual physical mementos to use as hints for reminiscing, to saving data for the same purpose.

When I think of the address in Highland Township, I think of the ferns that we transplanted from the wilderness that was our backyard, to the shady side of the garage.  When I think of our address in Saline, I recall how satisfying it was to paint the bedrooms in the vibrant colours Rick and I picked out, and how surprisingly cozy our home became.

Remembering the address in Oak Ridge reminds me of how optimistic I was to relocate to Tennessee with my Pumpkin, our first really big move together.  And it reminds me, too, of our low-class neighbors in that apartment complex and how we called the fire department one night, to have them put out a fire started in the mulch at the base of one of the support pillars by a discarded, smoldering cigarette butt.  The apartment building was made of cement block, but I had no interest in watching the fire consume the support pillar and destroy the overhang next to our kitchen window.

And now our address in Knoxville. This house represents what is probably the most-difficult period in Rick’s and my life together, dealing with the loneliness from missing family and friends, to coping with the fear and privation of losing our income when Rick was laid off from Jewelry Television.

Of course, we also have wonderful memories of fostering rescue dogs, gaining two more members of our family, and the family and friends we’ve had as guests here.  I guess it’s harder to encapsulate a particular memory or emotion for an address while one is still AT that address. It’s best described as a ‘work in progress’.

There are still some holes in my address list. I’ll have to go back through my files and see if I can’t find the house number of the chalet on Pleasantview Road in Harbor Springs, and some other tidbits but it’s comforting to know that I’ve started it, just in case I lose my mind tomorrow.

Comments are closed.