You’ve Got Mail

USE IT OR LOSE IT! I get a chuckle out of that old saying, but this time it’s personal. This time, it’s directed at us.

I’m talking about the banner in front of our new drive-by mailbox at Mountain and Colton, put up recently by Jim Clardy of the Montclair Safety and Improvement Council’s mail theft task team.

It took resident Chuck Harrison 10 years to get the mailbox installed, and there are already rumblings that it might be removed. Why? The U.S. Postal Service needs to see action there, or it can’t justify the expense to operate the site.

Harrison is livid. He says he asked the postmaster for the USPS to aggressively advertise the new box. But other than the articles in the Montclarion, there’s been little out there to tell folks the box is in, and that it’s a drive-by “snorkel box.”

That means you can lean out your window and drop off your mail, never having to leave your car. It means you don’t have to double park in front of the post office on Mountain anymore. It means convenience. But it doesn’t mean forever.

Use it or lose it. Take the sign seriously, and start taking your mail there soon. Or you may find that the little blue box that took so much effort and community spirit, will be marked “return to sender.”

Ditto for another new box that’s gone up at Scout and Mountain.

Mail bag

Thanks to Paula Stetler for her nice note regarding my piece on the Hillside Gardeners of Montclair. She wants everyone to come to their garden tour on Sunday, May 2 — featuring six incredible hills gardens. Twenty dollars a ticket is a small price to pay for good gardening ideas, and the money helps the club plant trees and flowers all over our East Bay neighborhoods. Call 510-339-8720 and 510-530-4855.

E-mail bag

As schools grapple with big budget cuts, reader J. Hall says she’s questioning the presence of Pepsi on one East Bay middle school campus. “They gave my son’s school a $32,000 exclusive contract bonus. In return, they moved 20 vending machines onto the campus.” She guesses that’s more vending machines than you’ll find at Moscone Center, but says booster groups love the extra money, even at the expense of the health of the entire student body.

By a nose

It’s race time again at Golden Gate Fields. The turf is flying as the horses and jockeys make their way around the beautifully groomed track.

Whether you bet or not, it’s fun to watch the animals before the race. Look them in the eye, sense their anticipation, and see if you can guess which one has the makings of a champion.

Local horse whisperer Steve Haines once told me that horses are the most honest of all living beings. More than a few races could be won if you could read the steed’s signals.

A “cat-astrophi”

I’ve heard of fat cats, but never a fur ball that could crack your ribs.

Glenview Key and Lock’s Dawn Schwartz says she was resting on her bed when her cat came flying off the headboard and landed squarely on her rib cage. “It was a freak accident,” she says, adding that kitty was only answering her “cat” calls. By the way, the 16-pound bruiser is aptly named … Hercules.

Word games

How influential are American movie stars? Oakland travel writer Dennis Cavagnaro says he was in Manila recently, and saw a bakery named: Marlon Brandough.


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