Monday, February 19, 2007

James Store -- jcarolek

When we moved to Virginia from Florida in 1988, we bought a house in a little place called “James Store, VA.” It is one of several “po-dunk” places in this neck of the woods and I was drawn to its rustic, quiet “ambiance.” We did not have the luxury of mail being delivered to our house, but had the opportunity to go each day and chat with Mr. Cox at James Store, where, as the postmaster, he carefully rubber banded our mail together each day.

Getting out mail was an activity we all looked forward to and it was with a little sadness that we accepted the news, in the mid 90’s that this was one of the many post offices to close in the USPS restructuring. When this happened, we were given the option of putting a box at the end of our dirt road (a quarter mile from the house) or getting an actual PO Box in another small post office about a mile north. We decided on taking the PO Box for security reasons, and so our mail was then addressed to “North, VA.”

While the post office at North was still small, it lacked much of the charm of James Store. I didn’t need to wait for Mr. Cox to finish his chat with another mail customer in order to get my mail. I had a key and went directly to my box to retrieve it. Somehow, the “experience” of getting the mail was not nearly as fun as it had been. Days could pass without either my husband or me having any interest at all in driving up to get the mail.

When I sold that house and moved into a neighborhood, I started having my mail delivered to the end of my driveway. Convenience knows no bounds! And yet, though my mail is only 450 feet from my front door, there are days that I simply FORGET to go look in the box!

Today in my rummage through the box of memories, I came across a photo of James Store, as it was when we moved here in 1988. It still stands, but is boarded up and vacant. It seems such a shame. It holds so many memories. I doubt I will ever enjoy the experience of getting the mail quite as much as I did those first seven or eight years.

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