By Collin Brooks
A holiday gag has turned into a three-decade tradition between the Kiernan and Squibb families. The two have been signing and sending the same Christmas card since 1983 and things are finally getting pretty tight, Susan Kiernan admitted.
“I don’t know what we are going to do next year when we have to send it back,” she said through a smile.
It all started in 1983, when the Squibbs returned a card that they found funny from Kiernans.
“They just lived right down the street from us, within walking distance, and we got this Christmas card,” Brad Squibb said. “It was just so funny…and we loved it and just put it in a box of cards…the next Christmas we just sent it back to them, we just thought it was a funny idea.”
The card has gone back-and-forth 34 times between the friends, but now when they stop to read their scribbles through the years, it brings back the many memories that have occurred.
From funny notes to vacations, births to deaths, the card’s comments have now become a snapshot of the couples’ lives through the years.
“You can look at the sadness in it, the humor in it, just the events that have taken place; and we do it every year, we read the card every year and make comments about the things we have written over time,” Susan Kiernan said. “It’s just pretty neat to look back.”
The contents started with signatures and dates and evolved into small paragraphs about the yea’s happenings.
“As I read the card the other day, I started to get a little teary,” Brad Squibb admitted. “We sent the card back this year, which means we have each sent it 17 times. Every year now we make a copy of it, God forbid something happens to it.”
But the card has almost been lost before.
Susan Kiernan admitted to having misplaced it one year, but luckily she found it in time to send before the new year. But the Squibbs haven’t been perfect either. Brad reluctantly mentioned the year that he forgot to send the card, but it arrived just shortly after New Years in 1986. That event was apologized for with a few comments in that year’s paragraph.
But no matter, whenever the card arrives, it is a heartwarming time for each family
“When my husband brought it to me from the mail yesterday, he said — and this sums it up — ‘Our most cherished Christmas card came today,’ and he handed it to me to let me open it,” Susan said.
Squibb and his wife also cherish the card.
“We’ve moved to Oak Ridge, so we don’t see them much anymore, but the card is just a bond,” Squibb said. “It’s something that makes our Christmas every year. It’s the history of a long, long friendship.”
The couples take extra precautions now when mailing the card, registering it and putting it in a bubble wrapped package, instead of your normal envelope. This year, the Squibbs even sent the card in a box.
“We just don’t want to take any chances,” Squibb said.
And while space is tight, it looks like the couples will continue the tradition for a while.
“We’ve run out of room completely, so I don’t know what we are going to do to send it back next year,” Susan Kiernan said. “But I know it will be in their mailboxes this time next year.”