Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Post Office Boxes

Tonight over dinner we engaged in a spirited conversation about how many Post Office Boxes we have had and where they were.  Whew, it was an exhaustive subject and left us both worn out while picking at our righteous repast.

Here's our Postal History from the early 1980's onward.

I remember renting a PO box at Grand Canyon in maybe 1983 or thereabouts.  I think it was Box 1023.  NEMAC and I were somehow involved in something resembling a business back then and I thought a Grand Canyon address would be really cool.  I will never forget NEMAC hitting to roof about having a PO Box a 3-4 hour drive round trip away from our homes.  Oh well, live and learn.

I think we had a PO Box in Flagstaff for awhile but I can't remember any details about it.

Somehow we wound up down at Brown Springs Ranch in 1989 and I think we had a Camp Verde Post Office Box then.  Details escape me.

I remember getting PO Box 542 in Rimrock back in the dim reaches of the 1980's.  I remember asking the Postmaster Manny Ulibarri is he had something better than 542 and he said, "How about Post Office Box 3?"  We had Box 3 there from the late 1980's until 2006.

Sometimes we would have people ask, "Well, how many people live in Rimrock, five?"  For some reason, having PO 3 caused a lot of metropolitan phone people to think we lived in the Middle of Absolute Nowhere.  Come to think of it, I guess we did actually live in MOAN Country,  Oh well, live and learn.

 One day a few years after I got the job as a Conservation District Director, I realized PO 505 was open in Camp Verde.  I rented it on the spot.  Everyone else associated with the District said WTH about that box.  I was so happy to report it was the same as the Nazi submarine U-505.  The impact of that coincidence was totally lost on them.

We almost bought 80 acres near Dove Creek, Colorado in the mid-1990's.  By some fluke, we actually were able to rent PO Box #1 in Dove Creek.  Thank Heavens we never had a need to actually USE that box.  What a fiasco that whole gig would have been.

One summer, I think it was 1999, we spent most every weekend in Monticello, Utah.  Naturally, we rented a PO Box there.  back in the Good Ol' Days before 9/11, it was easy to rent a PO Box.  Pretty much all you needed was a smile and a check for a few bucks.  Back in those days I think the annual rent for a small box was less than $10.  Well, it ain't that way no more!

In the Year 2000, we had a PO Box in Happy Jack, Arizona.  How can we forget that one?

Somehow we wound up with a post office box in Lukeville, Arizona.  Don't ask us how or why but we had one.  That Post Office there was perched right on the international border and it was truly weird.

Our first year of volunteering was ten years ago and, naturally, we rented a box in Escalante, Utah. 

Tonight, we debated long and hard about when and where the next one was.  There's been so many of those danged PO Boxes!

One time, for grins, we went to Colorado City, Utah, the place of polygamy infamy, just to see if they actually had Post Office Box 666.  They did have PO 666 and it was vacant--nobody wanted it.  If we could have rented it, we would have. It would have been such a stretch.

We think our next PO Box after Escalante was in Gold Beach, Oregon, when we spent the summer there in 2002.  We kept that box through the year of 2003 for our second summer.  I sure wish I could remember the box number.

In 2004, we got lucky and got PO Box #1 in Clayton, Idaho.  We kept that box number into the year of 2008 when we "donated" it to the Clayton Area Historical Association.  It was a funky PO Box that you opened by spinning an old-fashioned pointer.  Neither of us could ever get the spin-to-open gig quite right so the Postmaster back then, Gloria Coleman, always just yanked out our mail and handed it to us.  She was cool.

Somehow in 2006, we thought we needed a Montana Post Office Box and at that time we were in Salt Lake City visiting BTB,  We went to the Sugarhouse Post Office and somehow rented Post Office Box #1 in Sula, Montana.  We never used it for anything but at least it helped us be able to say we've had three PO Box #1's in our lifetime.  To tell you the truth, I'm still not quite sure where the heck Sula is located.

Well, we wound up with a Post Office Box in 2005 in Sanders, Arizona and then one later in nearby Chambers, Arizona, too.  I think we got that one in either 2006 or 2007.  The Chambers PO was totally Navajo and it was a real cultural experience going to pick up mail there.

We somehow managed to get PO 3600 in Idaho Falls over the phone long before we moved up here.  I think we snagged that one in 2006 or maybe 2007, who knows?

When we were volunteering for Arizona State Parks in 2007, we had PO Box 442 in Clarkdale, Arizona.  That was a cool Post Office.

Two years ago when we realized we were heading back down to Ol' Airy Zonie to deal with our repossessed home, we rented PO 21583 in Sedona, Arizona.  This spring we decided to change that to PO 144 in Rimrock.

Right now we hold only two Post Office boxes--3600 in Idaho Falls and 144 in Rimrock.

There are probably some other PO Boxes we've had here and there that we can't remember.  This recollection is the best we can do tonight.  Frankly, we're glad we're down to just two PO boxes.  I think at our peak we were managing five of them at once, maybe more, I can't remember.  It was bewildering.  We had more business cards to pass out than we could keep track of.

Well, those Good Ol' Daze of Serial Post Office Box renting are long gone.  Box rental rates are gone sky high.  We're paying $46 a year for the Idaho Falls bax and a princely sum for the Rimrock box, too.  We feel we need those two boxes to segregate our financial paperwork so there's no chance it can get kidnapped.  We consider the cost of our two current boxes to be part of our annual fee of "identity theft protection insurance."  As such, their costs are negligible.

Maybe one of these days we will attempt to make a Google Map showing all the various places we've had PO boxes.  Well, that's our postal story tonight.

Many Cheers, jp


Maggie said...

No wonder I never knew where to send your Christmas card.

John Parsons said...

Thanks, Maggie, there were times we didn't even know to which box our mail was going. We remember asking ourselves, "Don't we have a box there," mentioning some obscure community and adding, "Did we file a forwarding order? I wonder if there any mail stuck there?" We're glad those days are over.

Marti Spudboater said...

I know I wrote the blog spot on my own blog about the upcoming demise of various and sundry post offices. Well I can tell you after being out in MOAN country of Utah that there are several out there that could and likely will go by the wayside. I may chat about that in my blog when I write it tomorrow. I find it amusing you got numero uno for your PO boxes. I had PO Box 11 somewhere. Was it Albion, Idaho? I also had PO Box 71 I think, but maybe it was 11. How on earth do you remember this stuff? Oh, one of those was in Santa, Idaho. I've had PO Boxes in only about 5 locales, all in Idaho but once I moved back to the big city of Boise, that was the end of PO Boxes.