Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Disappearing Post Offices

About two weeks ago I read in one of the local newspapers that soon several local post offices would be closed. This is due to the fact that the Government is finding it not feasible to maintain them given the diminishing usage and low returns.

Growing up, it was common to hear my Granny marvel at how things had changed from her childhood to adulthood. Who knew in my relatively short life the landscape as I knew it would be changing so rapidly. As a child, being sent to the Post Office was a common feature in my life and one that I looked forward to. Among other things it was an opportunity to meet up with friends and play games whilst waiting for the usually yellow mail van to show up. As you grew older it was no longer games but chatter about boys, music, fashion and whatever else was of interest to the teen mind.

Then there was the excitement when the mailvan appeared. Those of us not yet in the vicinity would race to the Post Office just to make sure you were there before the postmistress opened the mailbag. We would all crowd into the Post Office and watch as the postmistress handed over her bag of outgoing mail and collected the incoming mail from the driver. She(it was never a he) would then go through the ritual of breaking the seal(somehow I remember matches and wax) and empty the contents on the desk.

After this, names of the mail recipients would be called to which those of us on the receiving end would shout "yes". The Postmistress always knew which child belonged to which family and so there was no risk of delivering mail to the wrong hands. We would then make the walk back home carefully holding the precious letter and making plans to meet up again.

Now the Postmistress seems destined to be no longer a person in our neighbourhood. Instead she has been replaced not only by the email but Western Union and Moneygram as well. Gone are the days when a trip to the Post Office meant dreams of crisp notes. However, for many of us the memories still live on.

In our day, we didn't have any fancy electronic doohickey mail thingamajigs. If I wanted to send a letter to Kami I'd have to carve it on a piece of wood, put it in a larger piece of wood, and then get it to the nearest schooner where I'd pay the captain a fifth of whiskey and pray that Blackbeard wouldn't intercept it on the long harsh voyage around Hispaniola open up my rudimentary wooden envelope and laugh at the contents inside with his beard ablaze.

And we loved it!

And we loved it!
Hmmm, Actually, we only loved it once. Subtract one of those and you get the true sentiment.
i do remember going to the post office to collect mail regularly when I was growing up, but I never experienced such a fanfare as you did! lol!
Well i guess they don;t call our time the electronic age for nothing!
but there's nothing like booting up your laptop, opening your e-mail client and finding new e-mails!!!

every morning i feel this deep sense of anticipation for the new VI@gr.A and B00b enlrgmnt spam that i will receive... :-P

seriously though... it is sad when these things change... but in a weird way, they have to change... this is what living is all about - constant evolution... we always hd a box at the PO in town and the vague feeling of hopefulness when going to check it is something i miss ever since everyone i know got e-mail addresses... now i only go when i know amazon has shipped something and i'm expecting a package notice... :-(
well maybe post offices will come back around. my post office memories are about real long lines to pay bills and get stamps.
@ Will,yes the anticipation is missing. You remember having pen pals and eagerly looking fwd to their response? Email is great but the anticipation is reduced.

Jdid,that sounds like the GPO in Ktown and not the rural ones like ours:)

Chris you should change you r name to CavemanChris:)
Kami's next post should be about the time the man came and installed the magical box that rang like a bell and you could speak into it and talk to people from far away.
man i missed those days of waiting for the postman/lady to come around to deliver mail, the rush between us to get out front when the she rings that bell was just joy...lol
oh dear. I hav no fond recollections of Post office trips whatsoever. The only thing ever went to the post office for was bills, and that was after school and no fanfare (I repeat... BILLS)... it was more like a chore.

There was this one time with a pen pal... but that lasted bout three months. Short-lived thrill.

Now they deliver the mail to our gate. So I never go to the Post office. Nobody not writin me anyway.

I would take a coupla your memories, tho :)
Over here the neighbourhood post offices often deliver mail as well. There is full time post delivery within the city of St George's - I was quite surprised to find that out.
I do have some vague inkling about a time when the post mistress was a very respected person, almost on par with teacher- and teacher was practically a god.
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