Playing With Junk Mail


I’m a couple days late on this prompt, but I loved the idea so much I decided it’s better to be late than not participate at all.

Courtesy of The Daily Prompt: Bookworms:

Grab the nearest book. Open it and go to the tenth word. Do a Google Image Search of the word. Write about what the image brings to mind.

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After opening Elegy for Eddie (Maisie Dobbs#9) to a random page, I counted ten words and ended up on the word “porter.” This is one of the images that showed up in a Google image search:


Magdalene Cambridge Porters Lodge
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

When I was a kid, my sister and I loved to play post office. My grandfather took a cardboard box and added slots along with labels, so we could pretend to sort mail like they do at the post office. To make it even more realistic, we’d go to the post office and take all the junk mail out of the trash cans so we could have “real” mail to put into the slots. Looking back, I can’t believe we dug through trash cans and took other people’s discarded mail. My grandmother, however, justified it by telling us it was trash and therefore belonged to no one. I laugh about it now, but as an adult, I never ever throw anything into a post office trash can!  After all, there could be a child with an overactive imagination digging through the trash.

We got envelopes that were stuffed with everything from coupons, credit card offers, insurance pitches, product advertisements, charity mailers, and Publisher’s Clearing House entry packets. When we weren’t sorting the envelopes into the slots, we were opening them and playing with the contents. I must have filled out hundreds of credit card applications (in a way this prepared me for adult life!) and completed dozens of Publisher’s Clearing House entry forms.  Publisher’s Clearing House envelopes were my favorite because they were filled with so many fun things! Back in my day, they sent a folded sheet of magazine stamps or stickers to stick on the entry form. I played with those stamps on the entries, but I also pretended they were postage stamps for my play mail.

After playing with the insides of the envelopes, we’d seal them back up again and sort them as if they were coming into a different post office.  This little game of imagination entertained my sister and I for countless hours. It’s amazing how something so simple can be so much fun.

While children today enjoy incredible technology, I often wonder if they are missing out on simple imaginary play. My sister and I could play all day without a battery charger or a lit up screen. We played everything from office, grocery store, salon, and restaurant. They were games to us, but they helped us face the real world with a creative spirit and a certain element of fun. To this day, going to the post office makes me smile.

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c.b.w. 2013