La Postina

I added the zip code to a letter, paused to give thanks to whoever came up with the idea. Simplifies mail delivery, right? Especially in a big city like Phoenix.

Not sure zip codes would matter in my little town in Italy. I don’t know how people in Novale receive mail these days; been gone too long. But I do remember la postina, the woman who delivered mail when I was a little kid. She didn’t wear a uniform or a hat. No, she always dressed in black, was thin and old. Then again, anyone over twenty looked old to me. Plus, over half the local women over twenty dressed in black. She carried the mail in a big brown shoulder bag. Sometime when she came inside for a short rest, she laid the bag on my nonna’s kitchen table and stuff would slip out. I’d climb on a chair next to her, stand so I could reach over to rifle through the spilled mail. I didn’t know how to read yet, but sometimes I’d find a postcard, black and white, pretty. La postina would pretend not to notice, then always put everything back in the bag before going back to work. She only came by about twice a week. During the hot months nonna would get some of the vin novo, the newly made wine kept cold in the basement as we had yet to discover refrigerators, she’d offer a glass to the postina. Nonna didn’t drink, she preferred a ‘presa’ a pinch from her fancy horn made snuffbox, it smelled of fresh mint.

Staring at the zip code now, it dawns on me I never knew the postina’s name.


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