“The P. O. was a capital little institution, and flourished wonderfully, for nearly as many queer things passed through it as through the real office. Tragedies and cravats, poetry and pickles, garden seeds and long letters, music and gingerbread, rubbers, invitations, scoldings, and puppies.”
from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, chapter 10, “The P. C. and P. O.”
In case you’ve never read Little Women, let me provide a bit of context for this quote. The “P. O.” in question was a martin house repurposed as a small post office and set up in the hedge between the March family’s home and the house of the boy-next-door, Laurie. With padlocks on the doors and each household in possession of a key, the P. O. became a place where “letters, manuscripts, books, and bundles” were exchanged between the denizens of the two houses. I was enamored of this idea when I read (and reread) Little Women as a child.
♥I still love it.♥
What’s not to like about a post office designed to deliver missives (not to mention fascinating bits of miscellany) from dear ones? No bills. No junk mail. No ad fliers. Nothing but mail that makes you smile, laugh, blush, get a bit teary (in a good way), and know you’re loved. The idea of a personal P. O. delights me in the same way that Little Free Library makes my book-loving heart go pit-a-pat. They are both intimate institutions that bring people together to connect with each other, with ideas, and with a sense of fun. Excuse me for a moment while I skip around with great glee over the mere thought that such things exist. What joy!
If you love the idea of a personal P.O. and just cannot wait until the idea catches on, you can capture the coziness of the experience by hand-delivering a note to someone who lives close by. Don’t panic. I promise this is easy as pie and won’t take much of your time.
When a friend recently ran her first 5K, I slipped by her house on the morning of the race and left this on her porch:
I could have sent her the same message as a text with 100 characters to spare, but it seemed to me that her effort and accomplishment deserved a little extra effort of my own. The beauty of it is that while it took slightly longer than texting, it was so simple to pull off. The note was written on a piece of scrap paper and the flowers (snipped from my garden) were arranged in an old mustard jar. Easy-peasy! Now it’s your turn to give it a try! Just scribble a note, drop it off, and make someone’s day a little bit brighter. Let me know how it goes, okay?
Oh, and if anyone wants to help kick-start the personal P.O. movement or become a benefactor and fund a Little Free Library, my front garden would be an ideal location for the establishment of such institutions. Hey, who knows what dreams might come true if I put the idea out there, right? :)