Snail Mail Snafu

snail mail, birthday cards, mail, stampsYesterday my guy received five crank calls that made no sense to him.

The phone calls originated from a CA town where we’ve never lived. The first two calls were hang-ups, then three voice mails, delivered in a shaky female voice: “I have your card. Please call me back.”

“My card? What card?” he worried. He checked his wallet; all of his credit cards were in place.

The next voice mail included more information: “I’m not Barbara, yet your card arrived here.”

My guy was even more confused. He doesn’t send cards. He pays bills, and that’s the extent of his use of stamps. Me? I love snail mail cards and send them often: birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, get wells, and any-excuse-to-send-this-cute-card-to-a-friend card.snail mail, greeting cards, send some love

“How would this lady have a card from me to some Barbara, and then how would she know my phone number?” my guy pondered.

The proverbial light bulb flashed over my head. “Wellll, I know a Barbara in that town,” I mused. I checked my calendar. “And I sent her a birthday card two weeks ago.”

So I did what any card-carrying snail mail user would do. I called the “crank” number from my guy’s phone.

A frail voice answered: “I’m so glad you finally called back, sir!”

“Hello, I’m Pam, his wife,” I declared. “I’m the card-mailer of the family. How did you get our phone number?” Cut to the chase, I figured.

She seemed confused by my question. “Why, I looked it up from your return address on the card.”

Now I’m a little worried. How many people Google a phone number to call a stranger and tell them…. what is she trying to tell us?

So I asked that question next.

She replied: “You sent a card to Barbara, right? I live at 1622 on Myrtle Drive. Where does she live?”

I quickly checked my address book. “Oh,” I answered, a bit deflated. “My friend Barbara lives at 1642 Myrtle.”

“What? Speak up dear. I’m almost deaf.”

birthday cards, send snail mailSo I repeated Barbara’s address, finally realizing that this elderly woman received a card meant for Barbara, who lived in the same town probably two blocks away.

“No worries, I’ll just pop this card in a bigger envelope and mail it.” she said.

Wow. How sweet. I felt badly that she had to go to all that trouble, but she insisted that Barbara should get her birthday card.

As soon as we hung up, I called Barbara, who was standing in line at her grocery store. “So you thought I forgot your birthday?!” I began.

“WHAT?” Then Barbara laughed when I told her the snail mail snafu. “When I get home and put away the groceries, I’ll stop by the lady’s house. No reason for her to go to all that trouble.”

An hour later, Barbara called me back. Minutes after she got home from the store, her doorbell rang insistently, repeatedly. Barbara opened the door to find a woman a bit hunched over with long gray hair and a tall smile on her face.

“Barbara?” the stranger asked. When Barbara nodded, the woman handed her a card.  “Happy Birthday!” snail mail, send mail, greeting cards

Side note: The two women talked for almost half an hour, no longer strangers, now friends. And this, dear Reader, is why I love snail mail!

173 thoughts on “Snail Mail Snafu

  1. Will Rogers said, “A stranger is just a friend you haven´t met yet.” I love this story. The fact that she went to all this trouble. Most people would have just thrown it in the garbage and you would have never known what happened to the card you sent. I still send cards by snail mail too and love getting them.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Once again, you warmed the cockles of my heart as I read the story AND the comments. I agree with you: i would “send this woman a thank you card, since I have her address!”

    I buy actual cards and mail them to PEOPLE too, people I know, not strangers, but I’d make an exception in this case.

    Happy Mother’s Day, dear Pam! 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    • Unfortunately we do get so many of those annoying and irritating “spam” calls – they’ve made us an unfriendly sort. I’m glad I saw enough clues to help me realize this wasn’t a “crank” call! ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s a great story, Pam, but I was suspicious all the way through, wondering about people who get phone numbers from return addresses. All sorts of alarm bells went off. I think I’ve been reading too many murder mysteries lately.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I buy about 15 cards a month (which is pricey, but still…) and send them out to friends and family. Lots of them, so lots of birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I send cards to my CA grandsons and found out they think they’re so special (cause they never see snail mail) and save them. That’s worth the price of a stamp and a card, for sure. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my gosh, of course, I LOVED this story since I love all stories related to snail mail. I’m so paranoid about spams and scams that I was sure it was not going to have a happy ending. I’m going to share it with my Facebook group “The Art of the Heartspoken Note.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • I sure thought of you when this all happened, Elizabeth. Absolutely share this with as many as you can. Maybe between you and me (and your upcoming book) we can convince people that snail mail is not dead!


  5. That’s the happiest story I’ve heard in a long time. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I too LOVE snail mail and really want to do more of it. So much gets in the way even though I’m an old retired woman. Too many hobbies. 😉 I love how that card just created a whole new friendship. I’d bet the old woman rarely gets any of her own.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I believe this woman was lonely and just by reaching out, she’s made two new friends. I know how you believe in snail mail, Marlene. and I’m so grateful for that (being a recipient of your unique and lovely offerings!!!) ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Snail mail makes us human Pam… the feel of those cards that we receive warms our fingers, sending vibes of love and positivity. I am delighted at the lovely gesture of Barbara and the friendship that ensued. Beautifully told!

    Liked by 2 people

    • There you go, Balroop. Again you’ve hit the nail on the head (or some saying like that…) 🙂 Snail mail takes out the cold and harshness of ‘technology” and brings back the human in communication. Just like poetry, now that I think about it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great story, Pamela. Since this lady is so good at looking up phone numbers, maybe she could have cut to the chase and looked up Barbara’s address. But then she would have been able to spend all the time contacting you. still a good story.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. What a fabulous story! You certainly make for a good detective. Just shows we should not make assumptions…

    So lovely to take the time to send a birthday card rather than just sending out an email. And then that you took the time to get to the bottom of this “crank call”. And that the story had such a lovely ending. Love it.


    Liked by 3 people

    • I guess being a writer spurs me on to send snail mail, Peta. E-mail is great between friends, but receiving a special card that you can hold, and that you know someone took the time to pick and send – priceless. ❤


  9. Your cover photo is very creative, Pam. Oh, my gosh, what a beautiful story! When real people treat each other as real people and then go out of their way. Kindness is not lost on humanity. We often do not hear about it. I have met kind strangers over the years who have made a significant difference in my life. Thank you for sharing the good, Pam.💕

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks for noticing my cover photo, Erica. When I go into my post office, the clerks smile and tell me “we have the newest pretty stamp book for you!” I like to order beautiful address labels as well and buy pretty stamps for my snail mail. It’s a kind of “mail art” that I think the recipients appreciate. (The cover is the newest flower book of stamps.) Yes, strangers are not strangers once we get to meet them. And there is so much kindness in the world. You are so right. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a heartwarming story! I received a beautiful snail-mail card yesterday and another today from my daughter–one for my birthday and one for Mothers’ Day. It was a little thrill when I saw the card. It always is.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. What a lovely lady who went through all the trouble with the card, Pam. First of all, it was good the call was legitimate. I got tons of spam calls and fake voice mails that I don’t answer calls with unknown numbers anymore.

    We still do snail mails for birthdays and anniversaries among family members. For anything important, I mail by priority mail with tracking number and insurance.

    Happy Mother’s Day to you, Pam!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, I really like the way we can track packages and larger mailing envelopes through USPS and UPS now, Miriam. But not through just a regular stamped piece of mail. My guy did NOT want to follow up with that phone call, but the combination of the name of the town on the phone call from where I sent the card, and the fact that the woman explained that she had my card….well, I put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and figured it out. 🙂


      • There aren’t too many mail I send by regular mail anymore, Pam. Most of my mail had tracking.
        I would stay your situation with that woman was one in hundreds of thousands. You have a stronger intuition in this one! ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

      • We have the same situation, Pam. We’re making “forever” stamps, otherwise, we can’t keep up with the price changes. When the prices increased, we used to buy extra stamps adding to the previous ones. Now, we just pay the current prices, used them up and pay new prices. 💖

        Liked by 1 person

  12. This is just a wonderful outcome, Pam. I loved reading this story and at first wondered if you were sharing one of your lovely fictional pieces. But this just made my day. I don’t know a thing for sure, but I do wonder if after a year of being wary of strangers and living in our isolation pods, maybe we’ve emerged a little kinder and little more tolerant and willing to go out of our way. Lovely!

    Liked by 3 people

    • What a great point, Debra. Yes, I think this woman’s loneliness was one of the reasons she kept following through on trying to find out where the card was meant to land. I hope you’re right, and that kindness and patience and thoughtfulness will be enlarged as we get out of our lock-down shells. xo

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great story. I would have been naturally skeptical too. We must average about 3-4 junk phone calls per day. Thank goodness for Caller ID. I love it when it comes up as “spam” or “fraudulent call.” I’m tempted to say, “Well, I know this call is bogus, but I’m lonely and need to tell someone my life story.”

    It speaks to the woman’s character that she went to all that trouble to get the card to Barbara.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I love this! Isn’t it wonderful that small acts of kindness have such power to surprise and delight people? I’m glad Barbara got her card and met someone new in the process.

    And speaking of delighting people, I love to see the changing headers on your blog, Pam. They are always beautiful and this one is no different!

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Pam, your real-life story shines with goodwill and friendliness of people! 😀 I too would have thought they were crank calls and immediately thought cards refered to bank cards! My heart lifts at the good-natured soul who was not Barbara yet went to such lengths to find you and then willing to send it on to your friend. An uplifting story for us all and a wonderful encounter for the lady at 1642 and Barbara!

    I love how you still send real cards in the posts … there seems to be fewer of us these days! 😀 They are precious and I have boxes of them saved since I was seven! Wishing you a very special weekend and Happy Mother’s Day for tomorrow! hugs xx ❤️💐

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Oh my I love this story. Not for the mistake but in the end how kindness is everywhere we turn. I’ve had a snail mail snafu myself. I still write to two of my uncles however on one occasion I put half of the address of one and half of another. They live in different cities. That one came back to me. Sigh…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, your snafu is a great one, Sue. I did something kinda similar. I got a phone call from a friend in MT who said, “thank you for my birthday card?” Why the question? I asked. “Because my birthday is six months away,” she responded. Turns out I had opened my calendar to look ahead for a planned vacation in six months, forgot the next day that I had the calendar open months ahead and saw the notation “Leslie’s birthday” and so sent her a card! Right person, wrong month. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Loved this story. On one of the Galapagos Islands, there is a mail center, really just a cobbled together bunch of boxes. You can write postcards and leave them there, then look through the boxes for one that you can take and deliver. I left a card for a friend and months later was back in the same town staying next door to her. A woman and child rang her doorbell and handed her the card. She said, “Oh Ruth is next door, do you want to meet her?” So we met and told travel stories. The best postal delivery!

    Liked by 3 people

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  19. Your story was inspiring. Love how the two women chatted. I send cards too — especially to grandchildren and great grandchildren, so they know what it’s like to receive a personal card and note. But commend you for how you handled everything because so much of what arrives on cell phones is spam and fraud. I probably wouldn’t have responded.

    Liked by 3 people

    • My guy was quite leery of me calling the woman back on the phone, but I had a “hunch” that she was legit. And she was just being kind! May we all listen to our hunches more often. And yes, recently I found out that my CA grandsons save my snail mail to them because it’s so “exotic.” They get nothing else in the mail, so look forward to my cards. So…. a good thing. Keep ’em coming, Patricia.

      Liked by 1 person

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  21. I loved your story Pam. Things happen for reasons. Woman intercepts wrong address and befriends Barbara. It could have all gone different had she just wrote return to sender and it came back to you. 🙂 xx

    Liked by 3 people

  22. What a sweet tale and how kind of the woman to do all that work to reach you and get the card to Barbara. Funny isn’t it? And lovely. And I didn’t know it was that easy to find a phone number! I guess that’s good in some cases. A wonderful story, Pam. Have an amazing day. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  23. This is such a cute story! It’s tough to find people who’d care enough to sort out a complete stranger’s problem. Thanks for sharing!


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