Going Postal: Little Mail Carriers

The sixth edition of the Going Postal: A Column About Postcards.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

That’s probably what you think of as being the United States Postal Service’s creed or motto.  I thought so too (I’ve heard it often enough on Cheers) but I was surprised to find out that the USPS actually doesn’t have an official motto!  This saying is simply an adaptation of a line from Histories by the ancient Greek historian and “father of history” Herodotus (5th Century BC).  He was talking about the Persian courier service…

The phrase was adapted and made famous because it was inscribed across the colonnade of the James Farley Post Office.

James Farley Post Office – Wikipedia

Now, the post office itself is quite interesting in that it is New York City’s main post office, was named after the 53rd Postmaster General of the United States, was built in 1912, and is the home to Operation Santa, made famous by the 1947 film Miracle on 34th Street.  It has the zip code of 10001.

All this is a long way of getting to my point.  Postcrossing, a seven-year old website devoted to sending postcards (think pen pals but with a different person each time), has a great little blog that features regular articles about the Little Mail Carriers.  Their names are Little Paulo and Little Ana and they are Playmobile® letter carriers.

Here we find Little Paulo and Little Ana in front of the Novosibirsk Metro Bridge in Russia.

The blog posts about these little plastic figures are wonderful.  They are sent They travel all around the world to various Postcrossers (I’m assuming these are the more consistent members) and explore that area.  Visits include local tourist sites, the best eats, big things (and small things too), and often the mailbox/post office where the Postcrosser usually send their mail from.  These are great ways to bring a postcard-crazy community together to see more about a sender than just a 4×5 picture and 50 handwritten words can.  The photos are quite good too, generally quite high quality and creative work.

It seems like not all the Little Mail Carriers blogs are up on the Postcrossing blog.  I can’t find an original one and the earliest post is from May 2010 but mentions earlier entries.  All I know about them is they are named after Paulo and Ana who founded and run Postcrossing. Nonetheless, these posts will have you hooked with cute photos and funny first-person narratives from potentially the world’s most-travelled Playmobile figurines!

In some places, Ana and Paulo are such big deals they get featured in the media and get to meet local politicians.  I’ve reposted that blog below for you to see.

Originally posted on Postcrossing.com on 19 August 2011:

The Little Mail Carriers in Australia – part 2!

Another exciting report from our dear little mail carriers! Australia is so big that they’ve decided to stay a little longer there, and visit another friendly postcrosser, Smileyfflagge! Meanwhile, they’ve been on newspapers headlines and gave radio interviews… seems like everybody wants to meet them! 🙂 Read their story below:

australiaWe left Mundoo in South Australia on Thursday 23 June 2011 and arrived in Coffs Harbour NSW on Monday 27 June 2011. Smileyfflagge got a big surprise when he opened his mailbox this morning!

surpriseSmiley lives at Upper Orara, which is about 25kms west of Coffs Harbour. There is no town of Upper Orara; it is a “locality”, a name given to a district for land record purposes, and so people have an address. There are about 800 residents in the area, and they have fat cattle farms or dairy farms. Upper Orara is very pretty and is situated in the Orara Valley.

oraraSmileyfflagge’s little house is situated right in the middle of a huge dairy farm and sometimes the dairy cows come right up to the boundary fence to see what is going on.

grassAustralians love BIG THINGS and the very first Big Thing built in Australia was the “Big Banana” which is in Coffs Harbour, so we went to see how big it really is.

bananaThere is a café near the Big Banana, so we looked at all the postcards they had for sale before we had our afternoon tea.

postcardsstandteaSmiley took us out into a banana plantation so we could climb a banana tree. The blue plastic bag protects the bananas.

7bananaAnother day we went to look at the view over Coffs Harbour from Sealy Lookout but it was closed for refurbishment. We found a little clearing in the trees so we could take a photo of the view looking north and while we were there we met Claude and Barbara, who were visiting Coffs Harbour from Western Australia, so we had our photo taken with them. We are hoping that they will join Postcrossing after meeting us!

8sealy9claudeOn Wednesday 13 July we went to the Coffs Harbour Jetty for a newspaper interview. We were met there by Gemima Harvey, a journalist with the “The Coffs Coast Advocate”, and her photographer Bruce Thomas. We had a very nice interview and Bruce took our photograph with glenasena and Smileyfflagge. The newspaper printed our story on the front page! And it was on the front page of 9 other newspapers right up the coast from Coffs Harbour to Gladstone in Queensland! And in the papers in the inland cities of Ipswich and Toowoomba in Queensland. We sent Gemima and Bruce a postcard to say “Thank You”!

10newspaperOn Friday 15 July we went to present our credentials to the Mayor of Coffs Harbour, Councillor Keith Rhoades. Cr Rhoades signed our travel documents for us. The Mayor is a very busy man and we are grateful that he was able to take the time to meet with us. We sent him a postcard to say “Thank You” too!

11mayorThe following Friday (22 July) we went to the “ABC Radio Coffs Harbour” studio for an interview. We went on air and tried to chat with Katya Quigley from “ABC Radio Port Macquarie” on her morning program. She couldn’t hear us, even though we were talking as loud as we could, so Smileyfflagge had to do the interview on our behalf. This next photo shows us in Liz Keen’s studio in Coffs Harbour.

12radioOn Monday 25 July Smiley drove us all the way up to Ipswich in Queensland, so we could visit our dear friend crizle who has been very ill in hospital. She was very happy to see us and is now home and very much better.

13crizleThe next photograph shows us at the beginning of the boardwalk at Urunga, which is about 25kms south of Coffs Harbour. The boardwalk now goes right out to the end of the training wall, and the second picture shows us waving to all our postcrossing friends in New Zealand, which is out that way somewhere.

14urunga15nzSmiley took us to the Post Office in Urunga to meet the Postmistress, Christine. She stamped our travel documents for us.

16christineHere we are looking out over Park Beach on a cloudy day. In the summer months Park Beach is full of people enjoying the sunshine and the surf.

17parkOur very last photograph shows us looking out over the marina at Coffs Harbour, with Muttonbird Island in full view. Just to the left centre of the photograph you can see the Coffs Harbour Jetty, where we had our interview for the newspaper.

18muttonbirdNow we are getting ready to leave Australia for…


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