Monday, April 23, 2012

Rural Routes...

The past few weeks have been an accidental history lesson for me! While "creating" our address at Sugar Creek, I had the chance to stroll down memory lane and revisit a few of the previous addresses of THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK. If you've never called the post office and tried to find out how to ask for an address for a very old, unaddressed home, then you're in for a treat.

  ME: Yes, Ma'am, that's right. I need an address for my home because we don't have one and we're ready to forward our mail. 

POST OFFICE: So you live there and you don't have an address yet? You must've just built the house. 

ME: No, the house has been here since the 1800's. 

POST OFFICE: Well can't you just ask the people that lived there before you, or look at the mail box for a number? 

ME: Not really. Nobody has lived here for years and years. The family that owned the house since 1902 has the old address, but the old mailbox is gone and the address was a Rural Route. 

POST OFFICE: (Dramatic pause.) Um.... can I call you back, Ma'am? I'll need to talk to my supervisor about this one.

 The conversation made me laugh, because shock is the overwhelming feeling that most people have when we tell them we're restoring an old dog-trot. We usually get either a, "You're doing WHAT?" or a, "But why would you do want to do that?" But the Post Office handled it like a champ. When they called back, things were very simple. "Just put a mailbox up and use your 911 address. We'll take care of it. When do you want to begin receiving mail?"

So in case you were wondering if it's a difficult process to get a new address for an old house, I can say that for us the process was a piece of cake once the Post Office understood what we were trying to do. As instructed by the Post Office, we (with the help of Jackie Robinson) installed our new mailbox successfully and now receive mail out here in the country. Here's a photo of Hubby and Mr. Jackie hard at work on our new address change. How awesome is it that the Robinsons, owners of the house since 1902, are helping us put in the new mailbox? They're awfully proud of this old house, and we're awfully proud that they love it so much.

The mailbox is very special to us. The box itself was a gift from Shaun's sister Stacia and her husband Jeremey. And the post was built for THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK by our very dear friends Anita and Nelson! We had no idea that Anita and Nelson were making it until one day when they showed up with it in tow. It makes me smile every time I pull in our driveway, because 1) it's made by our dear friends and 2) it's the prettiest mailbox I've ever seen! And speaking of addresses, we now have one of the original magazines that were delivered to THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK! Hubby and I were absolutely thrilled when The Robinsons gave us a December 1937 edition of COUNTRY GENTLEMAN magazine, because the address on the cover makes us smile. This one will definitely be framed and matted, then proudly displayed somewhere in the dog-trot of the home!

If you take a good look at Mrs. Robinson's address, you'll see that it's RFD1, ARCADIA, LA. RFD is short for RURAL FREE DELIVERY, according to The 1937 Edition of LINCOLN LIBRARY of ESSENTIAL INFORMATION, an up to date manual for daily reference for self-instruction and for general culture, named in appreciative remembrance of Abraham Lincoln, the foremost American exemplar of self-education. (Yes, that's the book's actual name! It was printed in buffalo, New York in 1927.) Jackie and Debbie Robinson used the old reference book to look up the meaning of RFD, which is all-too appropriate because the book once belonged to Mintie Robinson.

I love that THE HOUSE AT SUGAR CREEK once had a RFD address.   My roots are in rural routes. You see, I was raised on the outskirts of a teenie-tiny southern town where our streets did not need names. I lived at Rural Route 1, box 507. In those days, before 911 marched across the country and demanded that ambulances have a way to find sick people, it wasn't necessary to have street names or physical addresses. Rural Route numbers were close enough according to the US Postal Service, and they worked just fine for us "country folk." But then it happened. Our parish (we have Parishes instead of counties in Louisiana) decided that every street needed a name. I remember how strange it was to see street signs popping up all over the north end of Webster Parish. And it was stranger still on the day that we removed the numbers 507 from our mailbox and replaced them with an entirely new address. Around the same time that our address in Sarepta, Louisiana changed, the addresses all across northern Louisiana were changing. Street signs began popping up even in tiny Sugar Creek, too! But the street signs are pretty much all that has changed out here in the rural lands of Claiborne Parish. I want you to see the beautiful view from either side of our mailbox. And it just so happens that this is the time of year when red clover are in bloom along the highway. For miles and miles around us, this is the gorgeous view. I can already tell that spring will be my new favorite season, thanks to the beautiful clover and the other wildflowers that are popping up in the fields and roadside ditches around our house. Life in the country is good... and now that we can also have our mail delivered, it's even better!


  1. I love reading your blog post... the picture above reminds me of my grandmoter. She was an AVID fisher-woman and often said, "when the red clover are in bloom the white perch are biting!" So as soon as we see the flowers (above) start to pop up in pastures and ditches we know it is time to head to Lake Claiborne with the crickets!!

  2. That is AWESOME, Amy! I'll definitely head to Lake Claiborne with crickets the next time we see clover! Thanks for the tip. My kiddos will be very appreciative. ;)