Friday, September 17, 2010

Forgive Me, Post Office, For I Have Sent

In addition to Sepia Saturday, two things inspired this post:

I. Doug over at Crazy as A Cool Fox tagged me to participate in a meme. I don't usually participate in these, because this blog is supposed to be about postcards and other ephemera and not about me.  But, I told myself that it would be O.K. as long as I listed seven things about myself that are related to mail.

II. Matthew May from the U.K. emailed me about a book review in the New Yorker concerning an eccentric Englishman who sends himself (and lots of other crazy things) through the mail. This reminded me of some of the things I had posted over the years. It also reminded me of the ensuing guilt when the U.S. Post Office adopted strict mailing guidelines, which I was sure were precipitated entirely by my oddly-shaped letters and packages.

Back in the good old days, you could send virtually anything. A friend and I had a bit of a competition going to see what we could get the postal service to deliver. Here are seven of the items we mailed:
  1. A candy bar (an Idaho Spud to be exact, the candy bar that made Boise famous)
  2. A salad (the salad was arranged on a paper plate along with a plastic fork, knife, and a dressing packet. Another plate was placed on top and the edges were stapled.)
  3. A mushroom commonly known as a puffball
  4. A sandwich (saran wrapped)
  5. An egg
  6. A carrot
  7. A box of cereal
The Post office was amazing. All of the items were delivered, with the exception of the egg.  My friend was disappointed that I didn't receive it, especially as the person behind him in line snarled and called him a communist.

I want to point out that I do not condone anything that makes work harder for the postman. Seriously, I am so appreciative of postal employees and the work they do. Unfortunately, as a youth I did not have this understanding.

How much to mail this?
Sit still, brother! I need to affix enough postage to get you to Grandma's house.
Don't even think about it!
Don't forget to look in on Sepia Saturday for some truly fine old photos by respectable folks.
Oh, and here's the book review that talks about the eccentric Englishman who sent himself through the mail. He was much worse than I ever was. New Yorker Review


  1. Hilarious! I love the inventiveness of sending odd-ball objects in the mail. But yes, we should not abuse our public servants. Love the kitty on the beach picture.

  2. Loved your post about the post! And I also love your beach photos, gorgeous children - you were a beautiful child.

  3. It's nice to see some family pictures as a diversion! It's incredible those items got through the mail.

    One of my coworkers has some strange items that have been mailed to her (with the address and stamps placed directly on the item)- a single plastic flip-flop, over-sized sunglasses - oh, there is more, I'm going to have to take a close look at her office next week!

  4. Very funny :-) I wonder what the postmen thought! Jo

  5. Great and funny post . I loved it!

  6. i can't believe you mailed all those things. imagine if you tried to do that today! great post.

  7. That was a fun post. Good idea to incorporate that meme whereever you can. That is what I do.
    Good job.

  8. This is a wonderful post. I was at the post office a year ago and a woman had sold two racing car tires of her husbands. She had taped then into squished donut shapes with clear tape and the post office took them. I could believe she didn't have to put them in a box. The tires were worth about $600 dollars apiece so she was willing to pay the postage to get some of the money back out of them. I love your family photos and I hope that cat didn't get tortured.

  9. That's not a cat L.D., it is Christine's long lost brother Lester. He has not been seen since that fateful day at the beach when his siblings ridiculed him so for his excessive body hair and lack of desire to go for a swim...

  10. Wonderful post full of fascinating information and strange revelations. In my youth I used to work on the Christmas post and back then it was quite common - in these parts at least - to send kippers through the post. With the Christmas rush they would get somewhat delayed and you could smell them coming a couple of streets away.

  11. as i am freezing my butt here, as summer has ended august 31rst... this is most heartwarming!!

  12. Those are many different things than I ever thought of mailing, although I just mailed a plastic bag of homemade granola to a friend in CA. It fit nicely in the small priority mail box. I love the beach photos and the kids covered with sand! Warming to us now that fall has arrived. Thanks for the smiles.

  13. Christine, that headline deserves a Pulitzer award. Maybe you should collect contributions and publish a book. The title alone would sell folks on it:)

  14. I love this post (just found it). I can't believe you sent off all those things. I don't think it really causes problems -- my mail carrier is always smiling and laughing when he sees some of the crazy stuff people send me. And we mail artists are helping to keep the USPS in business -- so bring it on.
    (love the family photos too)
    Send me something!



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