Capitol Hill Station, Denver, CO
As a zine person I'm someone who spends an inordinate amount of time in Post Offices. I love the Post Office. People complain about it, but the fact that I can send something around the world for a few bucks has always been amazing to me.
In case you're not aware of it, the US Post Office is under fire. There are people in this country (Republicans and their Corporate Overlords) that hate the fact that some people value things more than money. They would love to destroy the Post Office for that reason.
You hear in the news every year or so about how deep in debt the Post Office is, how the price of a first class stamp is going up again, how Saturday delivery might be suspended and on and on. But do you know WHY this happening?
I suggest you watch this video of progressive talk show host Ed Schultz explaining in simple terms what's been going on.
As a person in the world of small press comics and zines, if the Post Office goes out of business, I go out of business. And there are plenty of small businesses around the country that are in the same boat. Not to mention the postal workers and their families that will be affected by the heartlessness of the Republican agenda.
Paris cartoonist Laurent Lolmede holds up the King-Cat I mailed to him from the South Beloit Post Office.
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Meanwhile, here's a brief trip down memory lane, about all the Post Office Boxes I've had:
PO Box 403, DeKalb, IL; 1992
After using my parents' house in Hoffman Estates as my de facto zine mailing address for years, I finally broke down and got my own PO Box in DeKalb. I think there were only one or two issues of King-Cat that included this address in the indicia, because shortly after securing the box I decided to move to Denver. Coincidentally, when one of my best friends, Al Stark, got a DeKalb PO Box about a decade later, he was also assigned #403. So it's easy for me to remember his address when I send him a letter.
PO Box 18510, Denver, CO; 1992-1998
My original box at the funky and groovy Capitol Hill Post Office on Marion Street in Denver was a nearly daily stop for me in the six years I lived in Denver originally. I'd load my backpack with outgoing orders and trade them for new mail when I got there. I remember many sunny Denver afternoons walking slowly back down Marion Street to 8th Ave reading letters I'd received.
Seeing the same clerks every day, you get to know them a bit. It becomes part of your day, part of your connection to the neighborhood, to the city. When I was sick in 1997 I needed someone not related to me to witness my Do Not Resuscitate form, and it was counter clerk Tim at the Capitol Hill PO who signed it for me.
PO Box 95826, Hoffman Estates, IL; 1998
After my surgery in '97, Kera and I moved back to Chicagoland to be closer to our families. My dad rented me this PO Box in anticipation of our arrival. My memories of this PO are mostly stopping in at night, after the counter had closed, to pull mail from my box (I worked the late shift). I remember the warm summer nights, the parking lot lights, the humidity in the air, and how good it felt to be back home.
PO Box 881, Elgin, IL; 1998-2002
After moving to Elgin in the summer of '98 I got this box at the downtown PO. It became part of my crucial Saturday routine: Walking down to the library to check out books, over to the PO to get my week's worth of mail and send same, and then over to the thrift store on South Grove to buy old New Yorkers for a dime. I still remember the clerk who told me that Engelbert Humperdinck was the singer's real name.
PO Box 300637, Denver, CO; 2002-2003
This was the box I had for the one weird year I lived back in Denver in '02-'03. I lived on Marion Street two blocks south of the PO and there were many afternoons of dragging my Rolly Cart through snow, slush or simply over Denver's raggedy sandstone sidewalks. Always rushing to make it there before they locked the doors on Saturday at 12:30.
PO Box 170535, San Francisco, CA; 2003-2006
After a year in Denver we moved to San Francisco so Misun could finish acupuncture school. My PO Box was at the Clayton Street Station, right off Haight Street. Waiting in the enormous lines, sidestepping crusties and their pitbulls on my way there, seeing the same people in line everyday: the guy who sold books over eBay, the Amoeba employees with their carts of mailorder...
PO Box 18888, Denver, CO; 2006-2010
And back to Denver. I got another Capitol Hill PO Box, though we ended up living in the West Highlands our first year and a half back. After that we lived at First and Broadway, so it was still a trek-- I'd drive my $600 1993 Subaru up there on Saturday mornings. You'll notice the preponderance of "8"s in my PO Box numbers. That's because ever since I was a kid I've had a hard time writing 8's. The universe has made sure I've had plenty of practice, though I can't say I've gotten any better at it.
PO Box 142, South Beloit, IL; 2010-present
After my life imploded in 2010, I ended up in the sunny little burg of South Beloit, IL, the "Sand Capital of the World." There are few anchors to my life here, but the friendly clerks at the Post Office are one of them. I kind of feel bad on the rare day when I don't stop in.
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If you frequent the Post Office, please be sure to let the employees know how much you value their work. And write your congressperson and let them know the US Post Office is there for a reason: because in a civilized society government should play a role in making its citizens' lives better. It's the American Way.