What’s In the PaperGirl Mailbag? Joy and Shame

posted in: PaperGirl Mailbag 6
Philip Larkin, by Mark Hill, 2017.


I went to the PaperGirl mailbox today.

I had not been to the PaperGirl mailbox since … Well, for a few months. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a lot going on around here. It’s like Grand Central Station. It’s like a busy restaurant at Grand Central Station. It’s like the kitchen of a busy restaurant in Grand Central Station. Let’s keep that metaphor going.

Sometimes, things that are not filed as “On Fire” get put on the “Back Burner.” I put the checking of the PaperGirl mailbox on the “Back Burner.”

What’s interesting about putting things that are not “On Fire” on the “Back Burner” is that the burner is on, Mary Fons, and sooner or later, what was on the “Back Burner” skips the state of being “On Fire” and goes directly to “Engulfed In Flames.”

The post office called me last week to tell me that I needed to come get the mail out of my mailbox. They didn’t say what they would do to my mailbox (or me) if I didn’t, but if you’ve ever been to a post office in the city of Chicago, you know it is unwise to make those people mad. They’re already mad. All the time. Even when no one has done anything bad. In any event, just do what they tell you to do and get out as quickly as possible. So I went up to the Merchandise Mart with my key today and I got the mail.

You guys. You guys.

The mail. The mail!

Oh, my. Beckie; Ann; Mr. Stofer; Ms. Hoof; Susan; Annabelle; Ms. Masal; Ms. Fix; The Gain Family … and others that sent gifts and notes and cards … I need to read all the rest of the letters and there’s nothing more I want to do tonight than do that.

A special shout-out to two people who made me yelp and then burble up with tears of joy/longing/gratitude: Leah and Mark.

Mark created the drawing of Philip Larkin. Mark, you are my friend and I value you so dearly. And you and Netta sent fudge again this Christmas. We’ll talk soon.

As for Leah — and I do not pick favorite readers, gifts, or letters, I love them/you all — Leah sent me a little tab dispenser than dispenses sticky tabs with puppies on the tabs. They are … I am literally tearing up when I look at these tabs. Every puppy looks like my dream puppy. I love these tabs and three of them are already stuck on my life, viz. my laptop, bookshelf, etc.

Thank you all for these wonderful envelopes. They are full of stories; they contain your very heart and soul. I will read everything. I love you all very much and you can print that. You can tack that up behind your eyes, knowing that it’s true. I’ve loved people for less than this, this bounty of letters from people out there who read, and write, and connect, and long to connect. Me, too.

Here: Mary Fons / Papergirl, PO Box 3957, Chicago, IL 60654-8777

I vow to you this day (!) to check the box every month. Every single month. Send me your letters, send me your thoughts. And you can send gifts, too, because I know about gifts. Gifts are my love language, and that means I feel love when I get gifts, absolutely, but I also show love when I give gifts. And I give a lot of gifts because I love a lot! (This blog is arguably one big, extended gift of like, life.) Anyway, if you’re a Gift love language person like me, you want to send me gifts because that’s how you show love.* Follow that impulse!

Whatever you do, and no matter if you send anything to me or not, keep writing. Keep connecting. I will if you will.

*Ms. Masal, I’m looking at you. 

6 Responses

  1. Terry
    | Reply

    Love reading your thoughts.

  2. Kim Jones
    | Reply

    Gifts are those “give more than you receive” kind of moments that are so fun and meaningful for the giver! We hear you, girlfriend!

  3. Melanie
    | Reply

    Knowing that all that goodness *might* be awaiting you, how could you possibly wait a day let alone a month(s) to check your mailbox??? I get mail everyday and usually mostly bills or sales flyers but I still look forward to seeing what the mailbox holds. Have fun poring through this pile of gold!

  4. Kelly Ashton
    | Reply


  5. Linda Duff`
    | Reply

    Ditto what everyone has said!
    Love ya, Lady!

  6. Sue Kelly
    | Reply

    College Students also love to get mail. A few years ago my daughter worked as a “Deskie” at her dorm. She had many duties, one of which was to sort student mail into their mail boxes. She said so many times she saw students open their mailboxes with hopeful anticipation of getting some type of mail only to find an empty boxes. She said that anything–notes, cards, letters, packages–meant so much to these kids.

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