The Mailbox

We’ve all seen mailboxes. Sturdy blue boxes on street corners, common as telephone poles or stop signs. Completely unremarkable in appearance and function. You drop mail in, someone comes to take it away. Simple.

I was passing the mailbox I passed twice a day, nearly every weekday for nine years, and for the first time I noticed it stamped with a city and year. It was 1950-something from somewhere in the mid-west. I assume the when and where of manufacture. Again, nothing special, until I started thinking about it.

Today, most mail is bills or advertisements. The personal or important communications are done digitally, and these unremarkable boxes are becoming obsolete. It’s the way of the world. Take a minute though, to wonder what the life of a mailbox would be like, if it could feel the magnitude of all it held at one time or another. The shear amount of emotion, the written bits of our lives which it gave a temporary home.

This particular mailbox has been standing here for nearly 50 years. All the important pieces of us, our histories, it held for a while. The days of blazing heat, the bitter cold nights, pouring rain, blizzards, and the kitchen sink. This unremarkable, unthought of box held our love letters, our best wishes, our deepest sympathies, our hopes, and our dreams. It helped keep us connected to people worlds away, to stay hopeful you’d see a special someone again. Our college applications, acceptances or, the rejections, news of the loss, news of new life. The manuscript you hope to be your novel, the last birthday card from grandma before she was gone. All of our emotions held in their plain, unthanked iron bellies, because it’s their purpose. The safe keepers of our sentiments; un-judging, trustworthy, and unassuming. These qualities rewarded in people, but never once thought of for this metal box. I know, it’s silly. It’s just a mailbox, but I believe it’s also a little bit more.

That being said, always be grateful for things that find their way to you in your life because you don’t know what sacrifices may have been made by unknown, unremarkable people and things not in your daily life that helped get them to you.

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