Auld Lang Syne and Farewell to 400 Strangers
by Jane Kashlak
Cape May, NJ —The start of this New Year for me means saying good bye to 400 people I don't know.
Cape May Times has been sending out an email newsletter since 2002. It was a pretty basic newsletter back then - no photos, no bright colors. Just the facts, Ma'am.
About 200 people - diehard Cape May fans - were on the original email list. Through the years, more and more people have signed up.
We now send the newsletter out to thousands. I've never known their names. Just their email addresses.
But times change. And so do emails.
It was time to carefully edit that list of thousands, and to remove old emails that either didn't exist or weren't interested in Cape May anymore.
I had to wonder what happened to them.
There was an email address from a New York medical school student, on the list since 2005. I'm sure the owner long since graduated and now has a successful medical practice somewhere. Best of luck, I thought, as I deleted the med school email.
There were the "4little..." Probably not so little anymore. Maybe in college, which could be why Mom and Dad aren't making trips to Cape May these days. Come back sometime.
I remembered one man who, like clockwork, would send me an email every time I sent out a newsletter. Good job, he'd write. I haven't received one of his emails in a long time. I worry about him.
As I made my way through the list, I noticed many of the email addresses I was removing were added back in 2007 - the economy's salad days. When people signed up for Cape May Times' newsletter back then, there was no hint that a deep recession was in the wings.
Where are they now? I hoped for the best.
Many newsletters treat lists of email addresses like a commodity, something to be bought and sold. That never made much sense to me.
Maybe that's why, despite the fact that we have many many new newsletter subscribers, I feel a little sad about losing some of the old timers.
Happy New Year, wherever you are.