Great-Grandmother's Phone Book

The cover of the original phone book
The cover of the original phone book

In the heat of Guyana, my great-grandmother bought a brand new notebook, with a flower engraved on it, from a convenience store and began using it to store phone numbers. Phone cards and phone booths were very popular at that time, so keeping a phone book was a normal practice. However, when her children began moving away and having kids of their own, she used that same phone book to add their full names, birthdays, anniversaries, addresses, along with valuable mementos like birthday cards and recipes. As her lineage grew, her notebook became fuller, and pages began to age. Families would change numbers, move, unfortunately pass away, but that very notebook was there to document it all. She brought that notebook with her when she immigrated to the US, and she continued filling it out until the cover of the book fell off and nearly every page threatened to flutter away, despite the tenacious use of tape. After this, she bought a new notebook, but even though it was newer and neater, it couldn’t compare to the imparted wisdom and majesty of the old one. All of my relatives would always tease her about who she would leave the beloved and coveted phone book with, as it was a family treasure. My great grandmother and matriarch of the family died in June 2022, but that decades-old phone book is a memento to the immense and loving family she left behind (so huge that I cannot even count all of us). This notebook encapsulates the dedication and love of my great-grandmother, and the immigration story of my family. 

Place(s): Guyana

– AG

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more