I am bothered by the fact that I cannot remember all my addresses and phone numbers. Is this a case of losing my memory, of being too mobile, or of simply living too long?
I once lived with some friends in an apartment for a year. While we lived there, we would get phone calls for “Fred Johnson” who we did not know–this became something of a joke amongst us, especially because we would get repeat and insistent callers. We had to explain that in fact this was Fred’s published phone number but he was not there. (We had looked in the printed phone book and saw that our number was under his name.) At the end of the year, I left for Louisiana, only to return after 15 months. By the time I returned, these friends had moved into a house in another part of St. Paul where I joined them. The first phone call I got at that house was for “Fred Johnson.” I was totally confused. Where was I? How had “Fred Johnson’s” number now become our new number at a new location, after my being gone for 15 months? I was in time warp.
Once in awhile I try to recall all the places I have lived in order. I don’t remember phone numbers or exact addresses at all. But just being able to visualize and list the places in order makes me feel more secure. I think it has to do with the fear that I might return from a trip abroad and the immigration officer at the airport may ask me for this list, and I won’t be able to recite it. So here it is:
#1 Iowa parsonage; a second Iowa parsonage; a North Carolina apartment ; house in MN; house in town in llinois; another house in another town in Illinois; college dormitory in Missouri (2 different dorms); manor house in England; dormitory in MN; house in MN; apartment in MN; apartment in LA; house in MN; apartment in MN; another apartment in MN; apartment on Seminary campus; house in IA–what street?; duplex in same town in IA near West Market Park; house in IA; house in MI (with 3 times abroad); apartment in MA; house in MA.
I have not had callers looking for “Fred Johnson” since moving out of that house in St. Paul. And I am forever thankful that you can keep your cell phone numbers forever.