From Pipi’s Pasture: Remembering mail day
Awhile back my sister Darlene Blackford (of Rocky Ford) had an idea for “Pipi’s Pasture.” She suggested that I write about memories of mail day when we were growing up on the ranch. The mail was delivered by a mail carrier just as it is today but with some differences.
First of all, we didn’t have any metal mailboxes that closed so that the mail carrier could put loose mail in them, as is the practice today. Instead, we used rather large wooden, handmade mailboxes that were open in the front and big enough for a mail sack. Dad made a mailbox from wooden slabs that looked like our house. In those days the county road ran right past our house with the house on one side of the road and the barn on the other.
Dad put the mailbox up on the left side of the county road, right next to the front yard, where the fence corners. In later years the county road was rebuilt on the other side of the barn, and the mailbox was moved up there.
The mail was delivered in mail sacks. Each sack was made of canvas with the resident’s name printed on it. There was leather across the top, and the mail bag was closed with a clasp. The mail bags were large enough to hold newspapers, magazines, and packages. As far as my siblings and I can remember, there were two bags for each family, one for bringing the mail and the other for taking mail-to-go back to the post office.
The post office was located at Hamilton. Mail came into the Hamilton Store and Post Office where the postmaster, Albert Ottens, sorted the mail. He put it in the mail bags for the carrier to drive around the area. Mail was delivered to the residents of the Morapos/Deer Creek are on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and to residents of the Williams Fork area on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Some residents got their mail from boxes at the post office. Remarkably, mail still comes into Hamilton where it is delivered by carrier on the same days.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
So three times a week we looked forward to getting the mail. The carrier picked up the mail sack of mail to be taken back to Hamilton and left the mail sack of current mail. At one time the mail was delivered on horseback. I think this is the way we got our mail when the county road was closed due to heavy snow, as in 1949. However, my siblings and I cannot remember how the carrier got the mail sacks from Hamilton.
My sister, Charlotte Allum (of Fort Collins) remembers that the mail was an important means of communication in earlier days. For example, if Mom needed a grocery item, she sent a note to Albert Ottens (also our Uncle Albert) in the outgoing mail, and he sent it back with the mail the next time it was delivered. In the spring when Mom ordered baby chicks, Uncle Albert sent word that the chicks were there (because we had no phones) with the mail. Charlotte remembers one year when the mail carrier even delivered the chicks.
At Christmas Uncle Albert ordered candies, nuts, and fruits for the goodie bags to be given out at school. Some years these might have been delivered with the mail. He also delivered a Christmas gift to our family each year, a food item and—always–Gouda Cheese with its red wax covering.
What wonderful memories!
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