Dec. 20th, 2006

I was surprised at how many people attended (150 or so) and how few of them I knew. There's been a lot of moving in and out of the building over the past year. No matter, I caught up with some old acquaintences, met a few new neighbors and had some delicious grub (as always, the party was catered by Juniors (no, the party NEVER includes one of their famous cheesecakes):

So, I'm gabbing away with my next-door neighbor, who is an elderly, cantankerous but, I think, well-meaning old soul, and a middle-aged woman who recently moved into the building. We are eating, drinking and gossiping about the firing of the superintendant and griping about the poor service we get from the Post Office and how we're helpless to do anything about it.

This year, the worst point was when our regular postman went on vacation and his replacements mixed up everyone's mail. For two weeks my mailbox was stuffed with magazines and letters and packages, none of them addressed to me. We all commisserated on that awful period, when residents were forced to leave misdirected mail in the lobby or slip letters under each others' doors.

Just as we've exhausted the topic of horrible postal deliveries, my next-door neighbor turns to me and says, "Oh, come back upstairs with me ... I have something I've been meaning to give you."

What would she have to give me? It isn't as though we exchange gifts or cards or anything of the sort. I don't know her well, have never been in her place, but we've chatted while waiting for the elevator and at the butcher store. She must be close to 80, has always lived alone as far as I know, has no family, no kids and no pets.

But of course I am curious, so I obediently come up with her and wait in the hallway while she rummages around behind her closed front door. After about 5 minutes she emerges holding a cardboard carton. "When we were talking it reminded me that I have this for you," she said, and thrust the box towards me.

I looked inside -- the carton was nearly full with mail, and all of it appeared to be addressed to me. I took the carton, thanked her, and went home to dig through the pile.

I was up until midnight opening envelopes and packages. Unpaid bills. Unread magazines. Unanswered letters & cards. Invitations to parties and events and barbeques. Birthday and New Year's and Hanuakkah and Christmas cards and gifts from this year and LAST YEAR!

I guess I should be grateful that she didn't just toss the stuff out, but it is so frustrating!

I would have loved to attend those parties. I would have loved to answer those letters. And I feel awful that I didn't acknowledge those cards and packages, some of them from some of you.

OTTAWABILL, thank you for the wonderful book. How did you know that I am a closeted "dog person"?

REGGIESGIRL, thank you for the gorgeous scarf. The color is perfect and I adore that fringe-y effect.

AVANTA7, thank you for the sweet card.

And to my anonymous gift-giver, thank you for the dreidel.

You guys are so wonderful and thoughtful, I'm so sorry I wasn't aware that these things had been sent to me.

I'm having a bit of a difficult period, not doing much this year with gifts or cards, but I wanted to let you all know how much I value your friendship and support. It means more than you know.

Thank you all.

October 2008


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