Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Minding the Message


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I am a pack rat! Once upon a time it was newspapers and ticket stubs, and tourist attraction brochures and all my old personal address books, all birthday cards, copies of letters I wrote to people, and the letters I received back. The list goes on and on. You'd think I grew up in a mansion, allowing space for all these "collectibles".

Then I became a pack rat of child-related material: pregnancy information, feeding information, day care information, then school related stuff. Saving things regarding children is not a bad thing...but when you save it three different ways, one per child, then you've got a problem.

These days I'm into modern technology pack-ratism: I keep files and files of correspondence I have with people -- both professionally and privately. You never know when you might need to retrace your online steps and track down some info you shared with others. I also have a bad habit of keeping phone messages in my system, and re-saving them again and again every two weeks when reminded, so I don't lose them.

Of course I don't keep EVERY phone message, but I have maintained several in my cache. And it's interesting because our message machine is internal, part of our Bell telephone service that we pay for. When we moved over two years ago, I'd already been saving messages on the system and had to figure out how to somehow transfer these messages to our new neighborhood, to our new area code and to our new phone number. I was so leery it wouldn't work and these messages were important to me. But they did, and I keep saving them.

1. The interesting message is from April 2000, from Frania Rubinek, actor Saul Rubinek's mother. She played in Avalon together with her husband, Israel; I then later saw her in January 2000 in Liberty Heights. I'd written to her in hopes of lining up an interview with her about her life: she was hidden in Poland during the war, she was an actress and had an actor son. Her phone call was a confirmation that she'd received my letter and would love to meet me.

Long story short, I never managed to reach her again, and a few weeks later, I read in the Jewish newspaper that she'd died...a day or two after she left me the message. For the longest time, I tried to contact Saul Rubinek, thinking that perhaps this was the last time his mom had spoken -- I have no clue if she had a heart attack, but it had to have been sudden -- and maybe he wanted to hear the message. I'm still wondering at that...

2. I have a message left on March 5, 2000 -- a friend of ours singing "Siman Tov un Mazel Tov" when he heard I gave birth for the 3rd time to a son, followed by a very warm and welcoming message.

3. I have a message from circa 2002, December, when that same friend put on an accent, that of an old Jewish lady (he did a good job of it too) and took on some fake name and was calling to wish my husband and I a happy anniversary.

4. I have my father's voice singing "Happy Birthday" to me.

5. I have my husband's and children's voices, as well as my mother's.

6. I have my mother-in-law wishing my husband a happy father's day.

7. I have positive feedback I've received for work well done.

People may read this and wonder, "Pearl seems a little weird...saving all those messages." But I have this to say: "In hindsight, don't you now wish you'd have saved some of your past phone messages? Aren't there voices you might've liked to hear again, some pleasant messages that you would've liked to hear again?"

So, next time, if ever, you choose to call me, please be sure to leave a message. And I'll make sure to save it!

3 comments:

tuesdaywishes said...

I'm glad your collection bring you joy. I think they would drive me nuts. Moving every three years or so is a great way to learn to travel light. I don't even carry a grudge!

torontopearl said...

Love the last line. I'll have to remember that if ever we move again: new address, new grudges/grievances!

cruisin-mom said...

Tuesdaywishes: "I don't even carry a grudge"...that's hysterical...I wish more people were like you...