The ghost of contacts past …

I had the weirdest experiences recently following our company’s change to a new email carrier. The only way to keep my contact list intact across platforms on the Mac was to migrate over all of the autofills, too, which then merged into my contact list. (Autofill: You type a letter in the recipient slot and a list pops up of people you’ve already corresponded with whose names also start with that letter.) We managed to weed out the “one time only” correspondence addresses, but even so, instead of the 176 contact listings I’d purposely created, saved, and kept current, I suddenly had over 1,700 email listings to sort through, many obsolete.

Some of the people on that autofill list are dead. It hurts to be ambushed by their names, like Rod.Nilsestuen@Wisconsin.gov and Bill Bathke. Sigh and sigh. I remember the days I initially deleted their entries in my contacts folder; to have to do it again was just as tough. Marty Kane … a close friend as well as mentor … and then my brothers’ email addresses …

Less sad but equally haunting was the collection of retirees. Jennifer Alexander’s autofill email won’t work, or Phyllis Wilhelm’s former @mge.com. Jenifer Winiger, Madison Magazine. Larry Zanoni, Group Health. Larry Swalheim, Landmark Services, Bob Oyler, Capitol City Harley-Davidson, and Jim Riordon at WPS – all of them good friends as well as IB resources over the years. Luckily I have their current personal addresses or cell phone numbers tucked away, but it was still uncomfortable to officially again “delete” their business relationships with me. Their legacies, however, will long outlast their retirement parties.

My autofill list also shadowed people’s job mobility. SeanRobbins@twallproperties.com, srobbins@thrivehere.org, and now I have his email address in Seattle. There are a few folks who have provided as many as seven different company emails. While they’ve been exploring new craziness, I’ve found enough at IB to stay rooted for the past 17-plus years. So as you can see, my autofill has a long memory.

Rearranging the search by @xxx.com would have saved me a lot of time, had it been possible (it wasn’t): I could have group-deleted the parade of past heads of the state’s former Department of Commerce, all of whom I apparently wrote to more than once with a gripe. 

Old conversations did bubble to the surface as I deleted the source. The readers who had more than one comment to make to me about something provocateur columnists Terrence Wall or David Blaska wrote – I wish I could have sorted by a subject line for “your columnist is a jerk” and group-deleted those addresses en masse, but alas, the emails were responded to (and deleted) long before now! Blaska alone probably added about 200 protest emails (and about a thousand “atta boys”) to my collection. (Continued)

 

I once responded to someone at a law firm with the address sad@lawfirm. I won’t say which law firm as I don’t want them to get any well-meaning emails now advising them to cheer up. But really, not everyone’s initials make for good addresses … something to keep in mind at your company.

Speaking of odd email choices, I wonder what “beansncream” wrote to me about? I hope that is code for “coffee with cream,” because otherwise I can’t make any sense of it at all. My immediate knee-jerk reaction would be that this was a politically correct, left-leaning reader who probably didn’t like what one or the other you-know-whos wrote.

If during this change-over period you wrote to me and it bounced back, well, a few years ago we changed our email addresses but kept accepting the old ones as a forwarded correspondence. Jodyp@magnapubs.com now will no longer work; try jody@ibmadison.com instead. If you elicit a response, you’ll likely become a part of a future walk down memory lane!

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