Friday, July 3, 2015

Where have you gone, Uncle Sam?

No, that's not a song title, or a personal statement as to the direction that the country's been going in since July 4th is tomorrow.

I'm talking about an iconic mailbox in Lorain County – that's gone.

Many of you might remember that for decades, a mailbox with a cutout shaped like Uncle Sam has stood in front of a house on Route 58 just a stone's throw north of Wellington. Over the years, there's been different versions of it with different color schemes. But an Uncle Sam mailbox has been there since about the 1960s.

Here's a photo of it from last year (below).

Well, I was recently informed by the webmaster of the Oberlin In The Past Facebook page that the current version of the mailbox has been taken down, and replaced by a regular post type structure. And she's not too happy about it – especially since she had a nickname for him.

"It has been there since at least the mid-60s when my family would call out "Hiiiii, Whiskers!" as we drove to Findley or the Fair, and "Bye!" as we left," she reminisced.

I remember seeing him on the way to Findley State Park in the 1960s as well, and watching for him as sort of a Route 58 landmark.

She noticed that something was up a few weeks ago. "I've been working in Wellington since last month, and have been passing him everyday. I saw last week that a tall mailbox had been put next to him, on the south side, and it obscured the view of him when I went to go home. 

"I got to thinking how if he disappears for good, it will be just one more nail in the coffin, or whatever the expression is. Then I saw him missing yesterday, so there you go."

I agree with her sentiment. 

Little things like that Uncle Sam mailbox become part of your life over the years. They give you a pleasant, comfortable feeling when you see them year after year. They reinforce the idea that, thank God, some things never change.

But then without warning, they're gone. And then you realize that nothing ever stays the same.

So what happened to Whiskers?

My webmaster friend has a few thoughts. "I am thinking new people moved in, or are going to," she wrote. 

"I see a trash can in the driveway with old window screens sticking out of it, and a barn in the back is being taken down. I hate to think that cut-out is in that trash can.

What would she do if she saw the Uncle Sam cut-out sticking out of the garbage can?

That's easy.  

"I would take it!" she exclaimed.

Another view of the Uncle Sam mailbox, courtesy of Google Maps
If anyone has any knowledge of what happened to Uncle Sam, or the story behind him, be sure to leave a comment. 


Anonymous said...

maybe they are sprucing it up for the 4th! Rae

Anonymous said...

Haven't been up that way but if the road has been recently paved by ODOT they usually put new mailbox posts put in per federal specs.