In my post on The Mailbox awhile back, one thing I didn’t mention was this: in order to receive mail, one must first have a box.

Sounds obvious, right? Right. So, in my innocence, having agreed to do the column, I strolled into the local post office on a windy March day and asked for a mailbox. The clerk gave me a form to fill out. Scribble, scribble.

Handing it back, I asked, “About how long will this take?”, figuring maybe a couple of weeks, or maybe even right now.

“Oh, about six months to a year”.

Six months to a year??. GAAAHHH!! I can’t wait that long! Now what? I need a box right now.

Fortunately, there was a private mailbox place not too far away. It did have one advantage: I could call up and ask if any mail was in the box. It sure saved me from making wasted trips.

Matters were proceeding nicely, and then one snowy day the following January, when I called in, the clerk said:

“Do you know we’re closing?”

“Because of the weather?”

“No, we’re closing the facility”.

OMG, here we go again. So another frantic search was made, and I turned up a place that was, amazingly, just a few doors away from the US Post Office. Now, CGW had already gone to press, so I couldn’t get a notice about the change in until the April ’84 issue.

Whew. Only then – haha – I received a note from the post office that my box was ready. Should I or should I not? In the end, I decided the post office would probably be around longer than any private business (as it turned out, that one is still around, too). So I took the box (the PO box was much cheaper, too: $20/year vs. $15/month).

Which meant that in the June ’84 issue, I had yet another address change to make. I don’t know what the readers thought about these “musical mailboxes”, but I was glad that things were finally settled. Although sometimes I’ve wondered how much – if any – mail was lost in all that moving around.

And that PO clerk was certainly right: it did indeed take a year for that box. But hey, it was worth the wait!miniscorp