When I was younger, I always looked forward to getting mail. Something about having an item addressed to me seemed so important and professional. I just loved it. Hell, I still love it. Most of the things I obtained were not of importance and they definitely were not of any professional standard. But they still made me happy.
One piece of post that I knew I would get without fail was my American Girl catalog. Hours of entertainment came from that bad boy. Their pages had so much for me to peruse–dolls, Bitty Baby, accessories for said dolls, clothes that I could buy to match my dolls–it was endless. I’m pretty sure I bought some of the most useless crap of all time from the catalog. But then a magical thing happened. An American Girl store (Rightly named The American Girl Store) opened in downtown Chicago. Now, if I remember correctly, I was in 5th grade when it opened so I was on the border of I should not be wearing this stuff and I have no friends anyway because I’m home-schooled so it doesn’t really matter.
I think I looked pretty chic in my red vinyl jumper.
I also looked forward to birthday and Christmas cards. The correct way of opening any card was to first rip the envelope open, preferably in the worst way possible. Just destroy it. Once it’s discarded, hold the card in your hand. Do not read it, I repeat, do not read it. Just simply turn it sideways and hope that money or a gift card falls out. I would even settle for Geoffrey Dollars out of desperation. If none of these items were included in your card then you obviously had a family member who hated your guts and wanted you to be miserable.
The scariest thing that would come in the mail were report cards. In elementary school we would just take them home with us in our backpacks and give them to our parents. They obviously trusted us more when we were 7 more than they did when we were 16. Granted, our grades were made up of E’s and S’s so no one (not even our parents) really cared about those.
In 6th grade, once they started mailing them to our homes, is when the anxiety set in. You had to find a way to intercept that card from getting to your parents first in order to know what kind of mood you were going to have to deal with. Mine always ranged from A’s, B’s, and C’s so my parents didn’t really care too much. But occasionally my grades would slip in math and science and a D would get sent home. YIKES.
Basically, getting mail was like a box of chocolates. You never knew what you were going to get. And it usually didn’t involve money.