Post Office Post

When I piled up my stash of green yarn for the background of my upcoming fire tapestry, I didn’t have enough. I usually use Norwegian Rauma yarn, which I purchase through Blue Heron Knittery in Decorah, Iowa (SUCH GREAT SERVICE, ALWAYS). I decided to try a Norwegian yarn I haven’t used, Frid Vevgarn, sold through Norsk Fjord Fiber. Sidsel Frisch sent out my order in a blink, on December 29, and wrote that it was expected to arrive on Monday, January 4.

The pretty yarn finally came!

Unfortunately, the term “snail mail” has been true lately. My eagerly-awaited box came today, 13 days later (via priority 2-day mail)! The issues facing the postal service are systemic and long-term, and worsened by the pandemic. I hope the challenges to maintaining and improving this important service to all citizens can be met in the new administration. Our current president did not help, with his fear of mail-in ballots. The administration had little desire to help the agency. (My favorite cartoonist commented on this.)

And now I stray into a family post office story. My Grandma Nan came from Aberdeen, Scotland, and traveled to Grand Forks, North Dakota, to visit her uncle, on the cusp of World War I. Because of hostilities and mines in the ocean, she stayed longer than anticipated, took a job at the International Harvester Company, and then met my grandfather. (My beloved Grandma Nan will appear in a future tapestry…) One of my favorite artifacts is a tattered envelope from 1922, without the inner letter, that Grandma sent to her brother Arthur, a soldier from Scotland serving in India. The letter never reached him, but with a 2 cent stamp traveled from North Dakota to Rawalpindi, Bombay, Lahore, and I’m sure some other places, before coming all the way back. I think of all the people who handled the paper, stamped it, forwarded it; I think of all the bags and ships and trucks that held it.

A 2-cent journey around the world

Permit me another piece of nostalgia. Grandma Nan had one other artifact from her brother, a set of metal pagodas he bought on his military travels. They sat on a shelf in Grandma’s house during my childhood, and they now sit on the bookcase next to my desk. My grandson Fitz picked them up this week, just as I probably did when I was three.

I know little about great-uncle Arthur Findlay, other than the fact he was an Aberdeen postal carrier who was commended for driving 21 years without an accident, according to an undated yellowed clipping from my grandmother’s scrapbook.

On to the fire tapestry!


  1. Hi Robbie. Let me tell you my story. My Aunt she worked for International Harvester. She came from Denmark not sure how long before 2nd world War to Boston to stay with an aunt. Met a man and got engaged. The war broke out and as a single child she felt she had to look after her parents thinking the war would be short but it lasted 5 years and she found out the boyfriend had married. She never married. Next story. I send some shoes to a friend in Denmark. It took 3 months. Explanation not many delivery flights from USA because the virus? I am from DK and emigrated to WI 1983. I love your weaving Elin Hsessly

    1. Thank you Elin–I love stories. I may need to visit your farm and sheep in Wisconsin, you know…later when the world is more open. Robbie