Mobile, mail and Gayfers

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Last week, I provided comedy at the National Postmasters Convention in historic downtown Mobile. To say I had a good time would be an understatement. There were roughly 850 people in attendance from all 50 states and Puerto Rico. Many of them were retired. I believe one of the guys actually rode for the Pony Express. Many of them were veterans, too, which being able to perform for them is always an added bonus.
Mail is special, but I’m not talking about all the junk mail that fills up our mailboxes each day. That mail is annoying, although I do like some of the coupons. That’s, yet another sign that I’m getting old. I get way too many catalogues, as well, but oh what I wouldn’t do for a J.C. Penney catalogue at Christmas. When I was a kid, Penney’s was huge and so was Gayfers.
Speaking of Gayfers, I saw the original Gayfers in downtown Mobile. It opened in 1879. In 1970, the apostrophe in the company name was dropped. That was also the same year they purchased the Montgomery-based Montgomery Fair. Many of you remember their location in downtown Opelika. I, however, do not, but I do remember going to Gayfers at the mall.
Seeing that original building brought back many memories from my childhood. We were poor and didn’t get a whole lot of clothes from there, but we did go there often just to look and to see what was on sale. My fondest memories are of me hiding in the clothes racks and rubbing my feet on the carpet to create static electricity so that I could shock my brother. Those were good times. Speaking of my brother, he went on to work there for years.
Then there were the beauties known as the Gayfer Girls—I’m fairly certain I had a crush on all of them, but that’s a different story. This article is about the importance of mail. I’m talking about cards and letters.
On occasion, I’ll get a card from someone, and that truly makes my day. While I appreciate online messages, there is something special about a handwritten card or note. When people take time out of their busy lives to do so really means a lot to me and to most people.
When we were kids, my grandmother would send us cards quite often. While some of my friends’ grandparents would send them money in the mail, mine would make an airplane out of two sticks of gum and a rubber band, put it in a card, and drop it in the mail box. As simple as that sounds, it made for happy grandkids.
I often long for those simpler days.
The army has sent me all over the country and all over the world, and I have every letter I ever received from loved ones and strangers alike. They are special. My favorite letters are the ones I received from elementary school students while deployed to Iraq. If you’ve ever seen my show, you likely recall some of these letters.
Dear Captain Fuller, My name is Brianna. What’s yours?
Dear Captain Fuller, What type of gun are you using? Did you fight in World War II?
Dear Captain Fuller, Thank you for serving. Without people like you who serve, our country would be bad.
Handwritten cards and letters are special, and I encourage you to write one today. Trust me when I tell you that it will make someone’s day. What could possibly be better than that?
Jody Fuller is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com.

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