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Old Friend

Much more than a Rolodex

By Anita Garner


Unpacking a box of office things, I discovered this and now I can't stop flipping through, stopping, remembering.  You don't toss out a time capsule. When I'm gone my family can decide what to do with it.  Better yet, it might be fun if they look at some of these cards and wonder what the heck I was doing with that person.


This sturdy keeper of contacts was decades in the making and it never disappointed no matter how it was treated.  Information is stored on here every which way.  It started with blank cards typed on an IBM Selectric.





I see cards typed on both sides and wonder why.  Was a fresh pack of empty cards too much trouble?   I see the point when I gave up typing and stapled on business cards. Many entries here are handwritten and my penmanship has always been awful so some of them remain a mystery, a security system without a password. Write horribly and no one can decipher.


On this distinctly analog device I spy baby steps toward a digital world, cards that say dot com. Online passwords written in ink.  I must have thought a password was forever and that using a Rolodex card to keep track of the internet was an efficient decision.  Ah, innocence.


Here are my agents in two cities, Look Talent and Tisherman.   I remember when Look Talent agent, Joan, was on Geary in San Francisco.  Up I went in the historic, clanking elevator to audition, then across the street for lunch at Neiman Marcus.  Look Talent still thrives but don't try to find them on Geary.  They've moved.







Lots of show biz managers and agents and publicists are here, representing entertainers we featured on radio shows in L.A. back when radio shows were full service. RIP Bill Waite who worked with the Osmonds.  RIP Merle Kilgore, legendary country songwriter/performer turned manager.






I spy a business card for a psychic in Chatsworth recommended by Studio City Esthetician, Claire (she's in here too) who regularly turned my blonde eyebrows brown so they could be visible in the outside world.  RIP psychic Tom Sexton who, before hello, told me what I was writing and why the original title was wrong and exactly what the new title should be.  I don't remove cards just because someone has died. They're my memories and I'll cling if I want to.

Now my password file is on the computer. I keep meaning to update the hard copy in the Important Papers file, but they change so fast, maybe I'll just update it on a flash drive.


Is this a eulogy, then, for my Rolodex?  No. I'm not getting rid of it. We started out together long ago and I respect our history.  Flipping through is a fine thing to do on a remember when kind of day.




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Defending Fruitcake

Slice of heaven from Collin Street Bakery

By Anita Garner


Every year about this time I have to come over here and defend fruitcakes.  If I didn't, some of y'all would be using them to build tiny houses. They're heavy, yes, but sturdiness is part of the charm.  A chunk of fruitcake should offer some resistance when you pick it up.  A stomach should know it's had some fruitcake.  What's the point if it looks and tastes like other cakes?


I like the ones in a circle with chunks of candied fruit protruding. I like the loaf shaped cakes heavy as bricks.  I like them all.  I tried to make fruitcake at home a couple of times.  Mine didn't have the heft and the mysterious bits of things like the ones you can order.  I don't even know what all those chunks are.  Don't care. 


Old or new, a fruitcake looks and tastes the same after weeks.  Words make this sound like a bad thing, but my mouth waters and I'm about to begin my once a year fruitcake sampling.


My family goes way back with fruitcakes.  We've ordered from Collin Street Bakery in Texas, Sunnyland Farms in Georgia, Harry & David in Oregon and Vermont Country Store. Sunnyland Farms is heavy on the pecans.  Mother loved pecans in any form so she always ordered a selection of them when she picked up a Sunnyland catalog.


Wherever you get yours, fruitcakes are colorful and weighty and loyal.  They'll stick by you for a long time.



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