Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Mailman by any other name

The mail has always fascinated me. From the time I was a small child, I wanted to be the recipient of mail I could hold in my hand, mail where my name appeared in the little glassine window proudly proclaiming that this piece of mail belonged to me and me alone. Once after coming upon a postage paid advert card in one of my grandmother's magazines, I carefully filled out the details, including my name and Mammy's address and phone number then popped it into the mail box. I didn't get mail from them, but my grandparents got some rather annoying calls for years from them trying to sell hearing aids to my perfectly hearing elders...and after all that, for me still no mail.

It seems that no matter what town you live in, your Post Office is one of the first places of which you want to know the location . You actively hunt down that (usually) brick facade, the familiar Eagle insignia posted on the wall with the words United States Post Office. The grounds are well kept and nice shrubs usually skirt the front of the building. The towns in our county are lucky to have some lovely examples of architecture. Chesterfield and Cheraw especially come to mind. It would be a pity to lose these buildings to progress. They have meant so much to so many people over the years, from the Mail Carriers to the workers behind the counter, always smiling always friendly and available to give information you might need. They've even helped with directions to unfamiliar places.

As a young Navy wife, the mail carrier was always someone I looked forward to seeing come up our walkway as he delivered mail from Mac who was often far from home aboard a ship. I wouldn't wait to get inside the house to open the letters that arrived but would rip them open and begin devouring the words right there on the porch before I turned to walk back into the house, mail still clutched in ever tightening fingers. This was my link with someone I loved and missed.

The singing group Alabama had a song out about the rigors of mail delivery that covered the history of America's mail service from the Pony Express right up thru delivery in space. At the time no one had heard of e-mail or even dreamed of it. In the cities I lived in here in the US they were Letter Carriers, in England they were Posties (and walked right in the front door to lay the mail on the entry hall table) and of course collectively they are mostly known as Mailmen, weather they are male or female. I was in awe of our Rural carriers who could sit in the middle of the front seat, drive the car while reaching for the mail bundle at their side as they pulled up to the mailbox without knocking it down. Here in the south we of course know our Postmen by name. In Chesterfield it was at first Scott then it was we have Jimmy. Their cars are personal vehicles with many miles on the odometers. Sometimes we see the familiar mail Jeep, but not often. Don't get me wrong, the job is still hard the hours still long, the roads still rough and it's not one I'd want to take on myself. I had still much rather be the recipient than the deliverer. Do I appreciate our Postal Carriers? You're darned right I's to all the Jimmy's out there, still doing the hard work.


Donna said...

Isn't this the Truth! What a job they do!
Loved the story Sandi!
Happy night to you!

Maggie May said...

I love to get hand written letters through the post. It seems to be a rare occasion now for that to happen in these days of email.
Lovely when you get to know your postman. Thats something else that doesn't seem to happen these days.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Vee said...

Amen! Our rural carrier finally protested and now rides the buggy all over the outskirts of town because gas prices are just too high and the stipends were just not high enough.

I'm still wondering how I'd like the mailman coming in and laying the mail on the hall table. Not much, I'm thinking.

Sally said...

Oh, I remember the days when my dad was out to sea, and we'd patiently wait for the mailman. As children, we anticipated his letters as much as Mom did; he'd send one to my brother & I occasionally. I still have a couple from him in the l940's.

It's funny you mention hearing aids as that's what I posted about this morning. LOL

Have a beautiful day, Sandi, I always watch to see when you post; always so interesting! It seems blogging is becoming a thing of the past since FB. :)


Sharon Rose said...

I love getting mail!!!!

I love sending cards through the mail. While email, texting, twittering and blogging provide wonderful opportunities for instant connection, it is still the "snail mail" that I love most.

Lee said...

Great post Sandi! You're right, the letter carriers are great! Mine offered to deliver my mail right to my door instead of the apartment mailbox when I broke my leg in '04. That was awfully kind and dedicated of him.


NitWit1 said...

I've lived where mail was delivered to a slot in the front living room near the front door, to military mail on base in a foreign country, to rural boxes now, even though in a city. Fortunately our mailbox is in front of our house, but certain areas there are rows of mailboxes on a corner and people have to trek to their mail boxes.

The USPS is in desperate financial striats and some corruption. It is considering another stamp hike and no Saturday delivery.

Pondside said...

Little by little our mail service in Canada is chipped away. We get delivery Monday through Friday, and know that what we mail on Friday will not be sorted until Monday. The postal workers are set to go on strike next month, so there'll be no mail at all, and then when they go back the cost of mailing will increase again to fill the settlement.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Our rural carrier when I as young was Clyde. You could leave seven cents on top of the letter and he would stamp it for you. His relief carrier was a peacher's wife. She loved to find youin the front yard and stop and chat (gossip).

Our mail carrier here shares my name and knows my dogs. But, I hear we are going to only have delivery five days a week and the local schools will cut back to 4 day weeks next term .......

Jeni said...

Yep! Those postmen/women do a darned important job, for sure. Here in our little village we no longer have a post office. Ours was shut down back in 1994 and it was a great loss, socialogically speaking, to the village too. The post office was where the townspeople came together and often would stay a bit and chit-chat too with others doing the same thing. That loss, along with the demise of the two company-type stores we once had here, left us with no place where everyone could congregate and find out the latest gossip as well as illnesses, accidents and such that others in town had experienced. Now, the only places where folks here can "visit" are the local barroom and the Moose Club -a place a lot of folks would never dream of setting foot inside either of them. Seventeen years later, I still miss the camaraderie that was felt by just saying "Hello" to someone from the other end of town who you never saw otherwise. Economic downturns do take a lot in their wake, don't they?

Janice said...

I love getting "good mail" - not the bills! I painted a mailbox and hope to get it put up real soon.

I noticed you stopped by my old blog sometime back asking about me...I have moved blogs to - come visit over there sometime! I am planing to close my garden blog this weekend.


Mrs Mac said...

I was born after my dad left the Royal Fleet Airarm, and before he joined the Royal Navy- so I'm the only child of 4 who doesn't have the military listed as father's occupation on their birth certificate- what is on mine? 'Postman'!!! Yep, he was a 'postie' for 3 years.

My partner was a 'casual worker' for the post office before he got on his teacher training course, back in 2004/5.

So yeah, I won't let anyone say it isn't a tough job!!! Our neighbours complained because they said they could hear our alarm go off at 5.15am. We said, erm, okayyyy.... but you do want your mail delivered, right?

Mind you they are the same ones who keep cutting our trees!!! STROOOF! SOme people just make you want to chew your own foot off!!

Judy said...

I'm smiling...since I just saw our mailman drive up to the mailbox and raise our flag. I've got mail! Though I recognize the vehicle...I must admit that I have no idea what his name might be. I'll have to look into that! I love that we still have rural mail delivery.

i beati said...