Friday, January 02, 2009
Sugar and spice
One of the few really cool things my ex once said to me was that I was "the best of both worlds," or something like that. "You talk like a truck driver," he said, "but you also love stuffed animals."
Soooooooo, the point being, lest all of you think because of the recent "f" posts I'm sitting here swilling beer in a trucking hat, I *do* like sweet stories as well.
So consider this:
My mother-in-law (L) retired from the post office on New Year's Eve. On Christmas, she mentioned that she helped out in responding to kids' letters to Santa this year.
My ears perked up and I said, "If I were still a reporter, I'd do a story about you!"
Then later, I thought, why not write it up for the blog? Good deeds deserve to be shared...
Apparently this is a nifty service that postal employees do all over the country.
"We get thousands (of letters), just in Portland alone," L told me. "I had 100 on my list this year."
The people who reply "try to pick out something in the letter to personalize it," she tells me. "But we try to be kind of vague, and NEVER focus on their behavior."
E.g., if the kids are naughty or nice, postal Santas don't judge. They just take the time to write back.
Although she says "probably 99.5 percent are just letters," the others have requests.
"You can tell the kids that are from lower income backgrounds, because they don't ask for hardly anything," she says.
The ones with more money tend to ask for the moon!
"Some families get their kids so much stuff during the year, now, Christmas isn't as big of a deal anymore."
I heard some funny stories - a girl scout who wrote Santa in the springtime, offering to sell him cookies - and some touching stories.
And then I heard one that Mr. Riot Kitty didn't know about - and I almost cried.
Mr. Riot Kitty's mom got a letter one year - and, well, this is what she did:
"This was years ago," she says, "and it was a real heart-rending letter.
"You could tell there was nothing expected for Christmas. The little girl asked for a coat for her dad because he didn't have one; earrings for her mom. For herself - I think she just asked for pencils.
"I called the carrier out in their town, because I used to work out there. And He said they were a nice family, and lived in county housing, and didn't have much.
"I called the county and talked to a caseworker. She gave me the ages of the children.
*OK, people, here's the fantastic, angelic, almost-unreal part!!*
"I got everything on the list. I probably spent $250. It was my one big, random act of kindness.
"I took the box with everything in it to their door and said, 'Merry Christmas,' and I had left the little girl's letter in the bottom, so they would know where it came from."
Apparently there are other volunteers who get together each year and write letters - the stamps, paper and envelopes are provided by the post office - and, "if there's enough informaiton, they'll bring things to the families."
Now go get a box of kleenex :)