The Mailbox

dsc_0075When I first heard that a lot of post offices were closing around the world, I wasn’t particularly disturbed, except for the people who would be losing their jobs. After all, I thought, we’re in a digital age now and there’s a lot less need to mail things, except for packages.

But then I started noticing posts by some of my Facebook friends saying how much they missed getting “real” letters and cards in the mail, and how emails just aren’t the same. The fact that I don’t get letters or cards anymore hadn’t really bothered me, but as I thought about it, an old memory came back to me about the mailbox we had when I was a kid.

I grew up in Newtown, Connecticut (yes, that Newtown) and we lived in a house in the midst of fields and forests at the top of a little hill. For the first few years we lived there, the little hilly road leading to our house was dirt, with woodlands and pastures on both sides. The mailman didn’t drive up our hill to deliver our letters, so we dug a hole at the bottom of the hill, put in a post, and stuck a standard rural aluminum mailbox with a red flag on top of it.

It was always a little adventure to “walk down to the mailbox,” which my sister Bertie and I did nearly every day. We’d collect whatever was in the box, and sometimes we’d put a letter in and lift up the red flag, so the mailman would pick it up the next day.

But the most fun of all, at least for me, was getting letters from my pen pals. There was Olga Hrenkevich (such an exotic name, I thought!), who lived in another state, and even more exotic, Kiyoshi Ito, who lived in far off Japan—which seemed like another planet to an innocent little country girl like myself. Later on I used to get long, insistent love letters from a boyfriend who lived in another state, whom I’d met at a musical event in our town.

So even though I’m a champion of all things digital, I have to admit I do miss those old-time letters every now and then—and especially the trek down the hill to the mailbox.

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7 Comments

Filed under my history, Uncategorized

7 responses to “The Mailbox

  1. So do I!!! I like to receive them but dread writing them. I got an F in handwriting I think. I do remember some glowing words from teachers past, words like… sloppy, be neat, slow down, your letters run together,and the worst comment, your elbows are dirty and your feet stink. My teachers were competent in many areas!! The old time thrill of getting a letter, especially one from a girlfriend, for me, was so exciting. Thanks for bringing back the memory!! Loved this!

  2. I gotta tell ya, Pat…I had terrible handwriting, too. I finally gave up and just used block letters! Oh well, at least I didn’t have dirty elbows and stinky feet! lol

  3. Brian McMillen

    Oh yes Amy, my mother and my 2 aunts would write newsy letters to each other every week. When I’d travel, I always would send postcards to the folks back home. I intended to do that on my recent NY trip, but never did get around to it. First time, that I can think of. I once sent a Happy birthday telegram to my buddy’s wife, and she cried when she got it thinking someone had died, until she read it! I have boxes of letters between my parents during the war, before they got married. Priceless stuff. Who knows what expedient methods we’ll be subject to in the future, but yeah, the letters/mail are special. Thanks!

    – Brian Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2014 17:29:39 +0000 To: brianmcmillen@hotmail.com

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