Makers of the 1995 film version of Little Women introduced an incident I find fascinating: the mailbox. The character Laurie presents the sisters with a beautifully painted and decorated mailbox which they affix at the end of their drive. All through the story, this mailbox is a tangible point of contact—both symbolic of the friendship and vehicle for it, connecting the characters even when they are not physically present to each other.

There is something about this mailbox reminiscent of the relationship that grows between the characters in To Kill a Mockingbird—through a hole in the hollow of a tree. What begins with small offerings eventually climaxes with one saving the life of another.

I tried to capture the mystery of such a mailbox in a story by the same name. Here’s an excerpt: “So began the summer where Miss Madeline really came to life, and it made all her past years fade like dreams. Something in the boys made everything realer, fresher, like a restored photograph, with all the colors richer and cleaner. Miss Madeline put up the mailbox, a cedar box of seasoned wood with a hinged flap and a brass latch. She baked for them and left them gifts in the mailbox, pictures and crayons, bubbles, squirt-guns, newspaper hats, toy wooden swords that she found at a Renaissance Fair, and all the things that boys like . . .”
Anyway . . . if you have neighbors within walking distance, especially children, you might try this mailbox . . .



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