Mailbox madness. Thirteenth of twenty-six posts in the April 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Whispering Chimneys: My Altamont childhood” — where my genealogy journey began. Wish me luck — I’m halfway there!
Our rural mailbox sat on a pole way down at the end of our driveway — dangerously close to the whizzing traffic on Route 20.
Since my mom and grandmother were usually busy in the house — and busier after my brother Mark was born — I was assigned to go down and pick up the mail.
Seems simple enough, right? Walk down the drive, take out the mail and bring it up to the house.
However, the job came with a scary set of instructions: look both ways, make sure no cars or trucks are coming, never step into the road, get the mail out quick, close the box, make sure the flag is down and hurry back up to the house.
Both my mom and grandmother were trained teachers, so they probably walked me through the daunting task a few times. But after that, I was on my own — and that’s when my imagination ran wild.
A formidable foe
I’d seen cartoon trucks on T.V. — with growling faces and bouncy tires — capable of dancing off the road in pursuit of someone. So I knew I was up against a formidable foe.
That’s why I gave myself a daily pep talk on my walk down the drive about ways to elude the frightening tractor-trailers that barrelled by with a banging gust of air or — worse yet — a blaring horn.
- “I’ll rush to the mailbox, get out the mail and run up the driveway before the next truck goes by,” or
- “If a truck comes I’ll dive into the bushes so it can’t see me, then get the mail after it passes,” or worst case scenario
- “If a truck comes when I’m at the mailbox, I’ll squeeze close and hope the it goes by without chasing me.”
For a while menacing cartoon trucks even showed up in my dreams — and I’d wake with a start just before they got me. Mailbox madness indeed!
Yet as I made more and more trips down the driveway, my fear of the trucks began to fade — and I started to dare myself into “close calls” from which I always escaped.
I’d spot a truck in the distance and tell myself, “If I don’t make it to the box, get the mail, and get back onto the driveway before that truck goes by, I’m dead.” Then I’d pelt off at a run to complete the task.
Once in awhile, the mailbox clasp got stuck and I had to make an emergency dive into the bushes to “save my life” — or cling to the mailbox pole as my clothes flapped in a truck’s wake.
But most of the time I beat the trucks, retrieved the mail and stood in the driveway saying, “Hah!” as they zoomed by.
And thus, little by little, I gained confidence in ways my family probably never imagined when they first sent me down to get the mail.
Up next – Norm: My post-war dad. Please stop back!
© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.