Sometimes we have no idea how significant a small piece of information might be to someone. We all have different spheres that measure success or visibility in different ways, and we often aren’t familiar with those outside our own area of expertise.
I got a phone call the other day from a very old person. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman, and the voice was shaky and slow.
“Do you have the 2006 Who’s Who in America?” they asked.
“Yes, we do. We have a subscription and receive all the volumes,” I said.
“I see.” Silence.
“Would you like me to look someone up for you?” I asked.
“Could you do that?” They sounded surprised and pleased. “I’m 91 years old and don’t drive anymore. That would be so kind of you.” They gave me the name, and off I went.
“I have it. The name you requested is in here; would you like me to read it to you?”
“You are so kind. Thank you.”
I read it. The person listed was a man, a composer of organ and choral music, winner of some prestigious awards as long ago as 1924. First a director of large church choirs, then a professorship at one of the local universities, and a local address.
“That’s all,” I said. “Would you like me to copy it and send it to you?”
“Why, yes - that would be wonderful.”
“All right, could I have your name and address?” I asked.
It was the name and address of the person listed in Who’s Who.
Being listed in there might not be important to me, but would a composer ever have heard of Library Journal? Seeing your name in print is a highlight at any time, especially if you are 91 and housebound.
It’s too bad there aren’t publications for great mail carriers, super tech people and heroic parents. All of us have our Who’s Who moments in someone’s life, in print or not. I’m thankful to have been a small part of this one. Congrats!