Friday, September 04, 2015

Post Office Boxes

Last week our island post office, and our postmaster Celeste, came up in casual conversation. My neighbor, Tom, shared this story: 

One afternoon he was in the post office lobby when a young couple came in with a large stack of wedding invitations to mail. "Celeste," the young lady said sheepishly, "we're sorry, but we don't know most of these people's post office box numbers. Can we mail them anyway?" 

Celeste rolled her eyes, gave a sigh, and asked, "What's the first name?" After hearing the name she said, "51." Sorting through the envelopes, the young lady read off the rest of the names. Immediately after each name came another number: 265, 97, 832, 587, 316, 14, 1238, .... 

After some time Celeste hesitated. 

It was then that Tom piped up from across the lobby. "A hah," he chortled, "I was waiting for you you to stumble!" 

Celeste just cut her eyes at Tom, and explained calmly, "That person has two post office boxes. I was trying to decide which one was best to use!"

Chastened, Tom walked over and gave her a congratulatory "high five."

Some of Ocracoke's more than 1,700 PO Boxes

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is the story of whale and porpoise fishing on  the Outer Banks. You can read the story here:


  1. Anonymous10:52 AM

    Just one of the things a member of APWU needs to know to case mail. This begs the question is there no longer a public access record of mailing addresses on OI???? No telephone book which may or may not list a P .O box at the discretion of the customer. This innocent request of a P.O. Box address from a Post master in larger offices would be perhaps denied or if such a directory exists that would be made known to the mailer. --- for someone in this situation is it not too much to ask the mailer to contact the person who's box number they need because an Insufficient address lacks crucial mailing information and would be returned. Yes -the quaint time consuming request --in larger offices to maintain the efficient delivery of the mail would not be possible and most customers ---well it just goes to show you we have become a Nation of Strangers in one sense--- the old little black book/address book is now in the Smithsonian as a throwback --- replaced by the iphone. But a mass text message to the wedding guests in any situation would advance the body of knowledge for future reference of the parties involved.

  2. Vickie P.2:27 PM

    Reminds me of a story a friend of mine tells. Her daughter sent a letter to her grandparents addressed simply to Grandma & Grandpa, Summerfield, OH.
    She did include a return address. Although the daughter did not have the same last name as her grandparents, the postmaster recalled they had grandchildren with that last name & one of them was attending Ohio State.
    The letter was delivered.

    1. Anonymous9:37 AM

      According to the 2010 census the population in this village was 254. If mail is cased in the office, how many letter carriers do you suppose there are?. and since many many football fans are employed by the PO, I see this as entirely plausible.

    2. Ocracoke population is right around 1,000 year-round residents. We do not have any letter carriers.