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A Mailbag of Mother’s Day Memories

May 9, 2018


A Mailbag of Mother’s Day Memories


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



In 1955, when I was five years old, I had to wait one more year to begin my education at Jacksonville Grade School because our rural Indiana school had no kindergarten.  In that same year, my mother was quite happy to begin a twenty-eight-year career as postmaster of our Blanford Post Office.  Since my dad worked various shifts at the Newport Army Ammunitions Plant, he, at times, was, much to my delight, at home to care for me while Mother was working full-time at the third-class post office of our small town.  Of course, when both of my parents were working, I had to stay with my Aunt Zita at her Italian Restaurant or with my maternal grandmother and my Uncle Pete at their grocery store.  At other times, my paternal grandmother came from the farm in the nearby rural area of Klondyke to “babysit” me.  Despite this, what we would call today, “Support system,” I do recall a number of times when I went to work with Mother at the post office.


In the earlier years of my mother’s “reign” as postmaster, a mail carrier delivered mail and picked up out-going mail twice a day.  So, besides all the people who were in and out of the building’s lobby each day, only my mother, her two part-time clerks, and the mail carrier were allowed  in the actual office area  of the post office.  Although I had plenty of ways to entertain myself in the ample lobby, I sometimes wanted to be in the forbidden area of the post office.  Also, perhaps, at times, my mother let me go in the back of the post office because that area was warmer in late autumn and throughout the winter.


Mother kept a number of large, heavy-duty empty mailbags on a pallet in the far southwest corner of the building.  Whenever I was in the limited-access area of the post office, Mother always insisted that I had to be very quiet.  When the mail carrier was to arrive, Mother hid me with the extra, empty mailbags and firmly instructed me to say nothing and be still.  I obeyed.  Being incognito at the post office was much more fun for a five-year-old than being babysat by a grandmother at home.  I am certain that my career-minded mother was quite pleased and relieved that I could keep absolutely quiet while hiding in the mailbags.  Fortunately, the number of minutes when I had to be so quiet and still were rather few because the mail carrier was always in a hurry to go to the next stop on his route.  How many people have such a Mother’s Day memory?  Not too many–and perhaps, I am the only one.


Like many of you, I can only remember my mother on Mother’s Day.  Since her passing in July of 2001, I can only order fresh-cut, pink and white flowers for her grave in Indiana–so far from where I have lived for almost twenty-eight years.  However, where I feel closest to my mother nowadays is when Willow, my fourth Leader Dog, and I enter our nearby post office.  “Find the deposit,” I say to Willow; and she takes me directly to the deposit.  So often when I place an envelope through the opening of the deposit, I remember  how I used to make an envelope “fly” past the receptacle of the Blanford Post Office’s deposit and onto the floor where my mother had to pick up the envelope.  Most often, she ignored my flight behavior and said nothing.  After all, I rarely had more than one piece of mail to deposit.


Sometimes, while I am depositing mail inside our post office today, I hear customers opening  and closing the little mailboxes:  indeed, this sound brings me back to my mother’s post office which meant so much to her and to our town of about four hundred residents.  Oh, how my mother did love being postmaster of Blanford!  Greeting all of her postal patrons with a bright and welcoming smile, my mother was eager to help whomever entered the Blanford Post Office.


Yes, if my local post office were open on Sunday, that is where I would go to honor and remember my mother on Mother’s Day.


With blessings for all of the mothers whom we fondly remember

and with best wishes for all who will celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


May 9, 2018, Wednesday



From → Uncategorized

  1. Dear Alice,
    Little did I know at the time that, while I was at school, you and Mother were involved in clandestined adventures at the Blanford Post Office! Yes, those memories are uniquely yours to share and to treasure. Thank you for your delightful retelling that brought both tears and laughter. I’m sure that Mother has a smile on her face as she too reminisces about her five-year-old postal assistant.
    Love to you and Willow,

    • Hi, Mary–When we next visit Indiana, I am certain that we will again visit the Blanford Post Office.  As I wrote this post, tears came to my eyes also.  This Mother’s Day post is my 279th post on WORDWALK.

      With gratitude for your especially nice comment and with best wishes to you for Mother’s Day,

      Alice and Willow

  2. Sue McKendry permalink

    Alice–Thanks for this amusing tribute to your mother. Although my mother stayed home with the first five children, by the time the “bonus” baby arrived, she started to plan for an additional career. So, when my baby sister was your age in the post, Mom was enrolled in a Normal school to get a teaching degree. She loved teaching the way your mother loved the post office. We were lucky to have good mothers who also had rewarding careers.–And maybe my mother will also be smiling as I never followed her “mothering” footsteps, but eventually did follow her “teaching” path.–Sue

    • Good evening, Sue–Many thanks for adding a note about your mother and her career of teaching.  I know that so many of your students are very appreciative of your following the “teaching path,” first made by your mother.

      Enjoy the weekend!  Take good care–Alice and Willow

  3. Alice, I had to laugh when you mentioned tossing a letter in the direction of the mailbox and it landing on the floor instead. That sounds like something my little brother would have done. Thanks for the memories.

    • Hi, Abbie–Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog post about the post office.  Enjoy the weekend–Alice

  4. Fran Rayce permalink

    What an amusing scene I imagined from your description of hiding in the mailbags. You could have climbed inside and been delivered to Universal! Your mother was certainly resourceful. Thanks for sharing a different kind of post office memory.
    Best to you and Willow,

    • Good evening, Fran–I believe the only two other post offices of Vermillion County I ever entered–by walking, not by mailbag–were St. Bernice and Clinton.  I never went inside the Universal Post Office, but have a vague recollection of its location in your hometown.

          I am always glad when a story with a touch of humor is appreciated by a reader.  Thanks so much for your comment!

      Enjoy this Mother’s Day weekend!

      Best always–Alice and Willow

  5. Carole permalink

    Alice, I love this mailbag story! Going to the Blanford Post Office was always fun with the wall of little boxes. I remember #4 and #8, but forgot which was for whom.

  6. This is a delightful tale of a little girl and her Mom – and I love the title you gave this article. I think this story would be the perfect one to begin a series of memoirs of growing up in Indiana and life with your family. You have such touching and unique memories to share.

    • Hi, Lynda–Many thanks for both your comment and “like” on this Mother’s Day post!  I appreciate your kind and encouraging words. I certainly enjoy reading your memoirs also and know more are to come.

      Take care–Alice and Willow

  7. Katherine Binole permalink

    What a loving, fun memory of going to work with your mom! I can just picture you stifling a giggle hidden under mailbags. I don’t remember hearing about this “top secret” story before.
    Aunt Kathy

    • Hi, Aunt Kathy–What a treat to have a comment from my aunt on this blog post!  I do appreciate your reading my blog and taking the time to comment.

          I think I took the mail-bag routine fairly seriously, so I do not believe I had to hide any giggles.

      Looking forward to more comments from you–Alice and Willow

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