Growing up, we made our own photographic Christmas cards -- a tale I'll save for another day. It was an activity that took weeks of shooting, developing and printing. That's wet chemistry in the dark for you kids. Then my parents would write letters, address envelopes and mail them in batches.
We stopped that work after White Plains, though Kodak did a couple of photographic cards for us in Greensboro. It was on to regular Christmas cards.
For Christmas 1984, our first, Mrs. Dr. Phil and I made an address list and wrote on bunches of cards. In fact, it was because we had patted ourselves on the back for finishing the job the night before, that we stopped by the Laurium post office on the way out of town. December 23rd, the start of a 430 mile drive to Chicago -- and we come over a hill on US-41 and into a previous head on collision, just 5.7 miles from home.
Somehow that didn't deter us.
I don't think we wrote a printed letter that first year, but eventually we did. Usually double-sided. Run on a copier with gold or cream paper at first, then production runs at home using the LaserJet and later color inkjet, sometimes on fancy Christmasy paper, once we reached West Michigan.
A lot of work, but we felt it was important for family, friends.
And then came a year we just couldn't do it. And then things got complicated. Turned out the incommunicado stretched out five years. That was bad enough, but there was more. Because we ended up changing zip codes without moving. We kept meaning to update everyone and note the address change. Then last year, those who soldiered on and sent us cards despite our silence, started getting them returned when the West Olive post office no longer forwarded to Allendale.
You'd think that given this year's troubles that it would be six years, but that address thing bugged me. And frankly, I feel great. So I dove in.
Wrote a quickie five year summary and an abbreviated accounting of 2013 and my Year Without A Summer. Somehow I managed to keep it to just one page. So I included our Christmas pictures on the back, to let everyone know we're okay.
And now we're slowly wading through our list. Hopefully we won't get too many back for lack of someone else's forwarding address. (grin) And of course those who read this blog pretty much know everything from the past five years and this year anyway. (double-grin) As well as lots more photos.
But tradition has been satisfied.