For the previous six years we worked at Fort Frederica National Monument, the mailbox has been in sad shape. There were two mailboxes, side by side, across from the Administration Building. They were covered in lichen and one of them didn’t shut. They sat on a rotten wooden platform. Finally, this year someone decided they needed to be replaced. Plans were drawn up, a budget was set, and some maintenance people were assigned to the task.
Then, in January, the mailboxes fell over. They just gave up one day. The post crumbled and the wooden platform broke into pieces. Denise and Bob Verba, maintenance volunteers extraordinaire, had a new post up with a new mailbox the next day. It looked so much better than the old one. Serviceable, plain, and useful. Everything I want a mailbox to be.
But the plans for the mailbox renovation had already been approved. With the wisdom that comes from bureaucracy, the plans would go forward for the new mailbox. But, instead of maintenance building this Taj Mahal of mailboxes, the staff decided the volunteers would make it. The Brumbaughs were assigned the post, the Verbas were to make the “fort decoration” and Tom would make the metal holder for the decoration. All of this took a lot of conversation and multiple plan design meetings on the part of the staff.
The Brumbaughs built the post and, with the help of Tom and the Verbas, got it into the ground. The mailbox resumed its place on the post. We all wondered why the post was so high. Bob Verba joked that it needed a light on the top to warn airplanes. But that was the way it was in the approved plans. Tom made the metal hanger and the Verbas cut out and painted the “fort.” All was assembled quickly once everyone knew what they were supposed to do.
The final result is a beautiful and unique mailbox for Fort Frederica. It seems a little much for a mailbox, but the staff seem happy with it. Building and installing it was a group effort and we hope it receives mail at the fort for a long time to come.