You’ve Got Mail?
I have been wandering about with a sympathy note to a friend whose mother recently died. The thought of sending an email when I received the news seemed wrong. So, I chose a card, wrote a message, found a stamp, checked the address and licked the envelope shut. The problem was, I could not find a mailbox. I walked two blocks over to where the red Canada Post mailbox used to stand. Gone. I tried another location. Gone. So, I’ve been carrying the damned envelope for three weeks. I transfer it from my purse, to my knapsack, to my car, whenever I leave the house. It’s still with me.
Recently, I have been helping my father cull his photo archives. Yesterday, I sorted a pile of postcards to his Aunt- my Great Aunt- dated 1907 and 1908, bearing stamps of King George VI and mailed from Almonte, Carleton Place and Smith’s Falls. The thread of conversations is fascinating – “Only out for a day” and “Card received and will expect you tomorrow night. If you don’t see me around you know where the key hangs.” Clearly, mail delivery on the Ottawa Valley in the early 1900s was an important way for friends and family to keep in touch, but next day delivery?
These days, putting pen to paper to communicate seems onerous and slightly archaic when a simple email or Facebook entry will do the job instantaneously. But I’ve made my decision. And so I clutch my still unmailed note of sympathy, looking for a familiar red box and wondering how long it will be before mailboxes disappear altogether from the urban landscape.