Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Friday, September 13, 2013

Free Stuff

It was the most exciting, amazing, stupendous, thrilling, exhilarating, stirring, electrifying, sensational thing!
Ever!!!
Okay, I admit that I lived in the middle of the prairie, at the back of beyond, just past the end of the road, and not quite to that part on the map where it says ‘Here be Dragons’.
Sigh.
Where was I?
Oh, yes. Exciting, amazing, (see above) . . .
The mail at the ranch came whenever someone drove into the nearest town, Milk River, and picked it up.
Sooo . . . intermittently.
Whenever Dad would appear with an armload of envelopes and dunners and fliers, I would always be first in line to greet him.
The ensuing conversation went something like this:
Me: Dad! Anything for me?
Dad: What’s your name?
Me: Diane!
Dad: Nope.
Me: Rats!
As time went by, I got smarter and learned to circumvent his inevitable question and get directly to the disappointment . . .
Me: Dad! Anything for me? My name’s Diane!
Dad: Nope.
Me: Rats!
See how much better that is?
Moving on . . .
Then my friend, Kathy, pointed out the amazing, stupendous (see above, again) activity.
She was looking through a magazine on the school bus on the way home from school and pointed out the rows and rows (and rows) of offers listed in the back few pages.
And many of them were absolutely free! (Their words)
She told me that most magazines had the same listings and that if you sent requests, the advertisers would send you . . . get this . . . free stuff!
What could possibly be better than that?!
When we got home that night, I dove into the stack of magazines that inevitably accompanied Dad’s comfy chair in the front room.
Wow! The Western Horseman was loaded! Even the Canadian Veterinary Journal hosted pages and pages of . . . stuff!
I was set.
For the next few evenings, I was happily closeted with one or more magazines, carefully writing out my requests and enclosing them in their handy-dandy envelopes.
Then I raided Dad’s desk for stamps – would you believe that it only cost four cents to mail an envelope back then? – and handed the pile to my dad for mailing during the next town run.
Then I waited.
And waited.
Finally . . . it happened.
Me: Dad! Anything for me? My name’s Diane!
Dad (just slightly surprised): Yes. This came for you!
Me: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee . . .!
You get the picture.
For months, I got catalogues, pictures, pens, trinkets, the occasional poster and several hair-grooming necessities.
Life was good.
I finally lost interest in the searching and requesting.
Though I never tired of the receiving.
But the one never happened without the other.
Sigh.
Moving forward several decades . . .
Yesterday my daughter came in from getting the mail.
Me: Oooo, mail! Anything for me?
Daughter: Yeah, there’s a package here for you.
Me: Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
eeeeeeeeeeeee!
Some things never change.

8 comments:

  1. I love getting mail, too! (Who doesn't, probably?)

    Email is just as good. I'm surprised, because I never thought it would be, but it is :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. Send me anything, I'm a happy camper!!!

      Delete
  2. I've always loved getting mail, too, and I used to do the same with the magazines! I also had about 30 pen pals, so I was always getting something (and using my mom's stamps). :) I have to agree with jenny_o, email is pretty good, too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I never had penpals. I really missed out . . .

      Delete
  3. Nothing more exciting than mail that isn't a bill.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I get real mail so rarely, even a bill is a mild pleasure. I get a letter from my sister maybe once a year. We're not a very communicative family.
    In primary school, our grade 7 teacher introduced us to the idea of penpals, she had a list of names from the same grade at a school far across the ocean and we all wrote a letter to the name we were given. We sealed them in envelopes, attached stamps and watched from the school gate as Mrs M walked across the street and mailed them in the big red post box. I never got a reply and I don't know that anyone else did either.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love "Snail Mail!" People are losing the art of the hand written notes posted to special people.

    Love,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete

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