Posted by: Kath Usitalo | May 2, 2011

Send A Postcard—If You Can Find A Stamp

The cover of this vintage postcard folio, bought for a buck at a Saugatuck antiques store, suggests the town’s artsy side

The last time I purchased 28-cent stamps at the post office I made no friends of the half dozen folks behind me in line.

All I wanted to do was mail some postcards, but the clerk had no 28-centers in his supply drawer. He asked the guy next to him in the USPS shirt for a sheet. No luck.

So Steve, my clerk, disappeared into the Big Room In Back (BRIB). That’s something you never want to see when you’re in line on the Public Side (PS) at the post office.

Scenes of Saugatuck in this 1955-ish fold-out folio


Here is what we ctizens know of the BRIB, which at my local post office is separated by a partial wall from the PS:

-BRIB is brightly lit, or at least the ceiling over the partial wall appears to be brighter than the dim area on the PS

-the aroma of a pizza sometimes wafts over the partial wall between the BRIB and the PS

-strange noises emanate from BRIB, like the sounds of things being moved about and people chattering and occasionally laughing but in a way that is not real—-more like a cheap soundtrack of what you’d expect to hear from a busy BRIB

-doorways to BRIB are positioned so that the public cannot look into that area; we on the PS have never laid eyes on anyone working or eating pizza or pushing the soundtrack button in the BRIB

-you do not want your postal clerk to retreat to the BRIB because you know he or she will be gone long enough for another citizen or several to join the PS queue behind you

When Steve emerged from the BRIB a half hour later, waving my sheet of 28 cent stamps and, I swear, wiping pizza sauce off his chin he said, “Had a hard time finding these stamps. Don’t know when the last time anyone bought any of them.”

“No one mails postcards anymore?” I asked. I know I don’t send nearly as many as I did even a couple of years ago. “Maybe I should buy two sheets while I can.”

Steve looked stunned, as if he didn’t know the definition of “postcard,” or that he realized he’d left a piece of pizza unguarded in the BRIB. “I can get you more,” he said, and started to turn away. Three citizens had joined the queue, and the crowd was past restless.

“That’s okay,” I said, paid for the stamps, and scurried out the door.

Now, as I prepare to celebrate National Postcard Week I realize that the U.S. Postal Service recently increased to 29 cents the price of mailing a postcard, and I’ll have to buy some one cent stamps so I can feed what’s left of my snail mail habit.

Happy National Postcard Week!

Visitor Info Clicks: Saugatuck

Pure Michigan

Related posts:

Go Postal, May 5, 2009

Lick A Stamp: It’s National Postcard Week, May 3, 2010



  1. Snort!! “…(W)iping pizza sauce off his chin….” Good one!

    • It may have been grease, not sauce….

  2. Awe, C’mon Kath – I’m sure those antique must have come from one of Auntie Elsie’s grab bags. As for the BRIB – I think it’s a way to keep ’em from “goin’ postal”. He could have offered to share, ‘eh?

    • Hey, Ellie, funny you should mention Mom’s postcards. I was sifting through my postcard collection in the “archives” (the stuff in the basement) this evening and yes, I see those that I took from Poinciana when we cleared out the house. You know me (and Mom) too well!

      (Truly, I do like Steve and the rest of the crew at our post office whether he cares to share or not 😉

  3. […] Send A Postcard—If You Can Find A Stamp, May 2, 2011 […]

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