There Once Was a Man with a List

NEARLY 60 YEARS AGO -- On the right is Joe Sharpless and his dog "Mac" with me in 1946. Joe and I keep in touch by e-mail. He was my best friend and next-door neighbor as a kid. He sent me this photo by e-mail recently. It was taken in my backyard.
Print This Page Send This Page To A Friend

Years ago I heard the story of some guy who filled notebooks with the names of every person he had ever met ... no matter how casual the contact. By the end of a lifetime, it must have been quite a list. In my opinion he was nuts. But, there was some method in his madness.

As we travel through life, we meet many nice people and then lose track of them. Occasionally, a name will come to mind and I'll think to myself, "I wonder whatever happened to Good Old So-and-So."

Keeping track of "old so-and-so" is becoming easier thanks to some of the newer communication tools. Carolyn and I are fond of email. I am especially so. Some of the kids from my old neighborhood -- Rollin Kuch, Joe Sharpless, Herbie Duey --- use e-mail and we exchange notes. It's nice to know what is happening in their lives.

Chris likes to call long-distance. So do our friends Herb Humphries and Bruce Marr. Herb and Bruce are important to Carolyn and me. As I told you, Herb was the best man at our wedding ... Bruce took our wedding pictures. When Carolyn and I decided to get married, those two were the first ones we told.

Bruce has been my friend since my earliest days at KFWB. He was the station's promotion manager. He is better about keeping track of his acquaintances than anyone I know. He's on the phone a lot. And he can tell you the whereabouts of hundreds of people in his life.

I am not partial to talking on the phone. Maybe that's a throwback to my childhood days. For years, we didn't have a phone in our home. We got our first phone after World War II. Before that, if we needed to call someone, we had to go to a neighbor's house to do it. Under those circumstances, you don't make many phone calls.

It's impossible to imagine the ways you'll have to communicate in the future. However you do it, keep track of your friends. You don't need to be the man who wrote down everybody's name, but hold on to the important names. When you are 70, those friends will be as precious as gold to you.