Monday, October 25, 2010

Post modern

My sister's art school boyfriend (Ben), in the 1980s, tried at one time or another to send her the following items in the mail:

- an arrow (for Valentine's Day)
- a hard boiled egg (it cracked)
- a toffee apple (it "ruined 20 pieces of mail" said the postie, clearly very satisfied by being able to impart this news)

Looking back, it's amazing the patience with which these items were processed. History does not reveal how many missives were unsuccessful (but Ben might).

I saw a book somewhere of letters which someone had posted to herself with puzzles (crosswords, word games, join the dots etc) instead of the address. If the postie solved the puzzle (and they often did) the address was revealed. It's a clever idea and it seemed as though some of the posties really quite enjoyed the challenge, although I'm sure quite a few of the letters got binned in exasperation.

(Thanks to My Rusty Sieve for sparking this off with a post about W. Reginald Bray, "The Human Letter", who was a pioneer in the field and a wild experimenter. He posted a turnip, a bowler hat, a bicycle pump, shirt cuffs, seaweed, a clothes brush, and a rabbit's skull. Following those triumphs, he posted first his Irish terrier and then himself .)


Claire said...

Ah, yes, the great post experiment. It was in fact a slice of pineapple, not a toffee apple. How he got the stamp to stick I'll never know. Likewise the jelly (not in its wrapper).

The person who wrote the book you mention was the daughter of Marg's old friend Kate (and we met the author as a child, at Shulbrede Priory, Haslemere).

Shall I send this to Ben for clarification?

LottieP said...

Please do - perhaps he can supply a complete list of items attempted and confirm whether he was influenced by the great "Human Letter".

LottieP said...

Jelly! Not in its wrapper! Genius.

Anonymous said...

I was asking myself how he managed to get a toffee apple into a postbox. The slice of pineapple seems like an elegant solution to the problem.

LottieP said...

I wanted it to be a toffee apple, for some reason. I liked the idea of a toffee apple "ruining twenty pieces of mail", and brightening a dour postman's day. Agreed, however: it would have had to be an unusually wide-mouthed postbox.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Ben remembers sending me a plastic plant in a pot? (I still have it). This anonymous comment is from Marg.