Joey and I lived in a dorm room in Fairbanks for the first half of Summer ’12. Fairbanks is one of the hottest places in Alaska and also one of the coldest. Normal summer temps are in the 70’s and 80’s, but for some reason there was no air conditioner in the dorm! As an Arkie by birth, I believe everywhere needs AC. We did what any normal person would do, and bought a box fan. We bought several other goodies: a mini fridge since there was no food on campus, a magic bullet for breakfast smoothies, and a few other odds and ends to make life
more comfortable slightly more bearable in the dorm room. We enjoyed our six weeks with these belongings, then dispersed them. The mini fridge went to Joey’s former room-mate. The magic bullet, extra pillows, random dishes, clothes pins, and clothes hangers made their way into a Rubbermaid Roughneck headed for our village. Then there was the box fan. I was excited about having that box fan in our AC-less teacher housing apartment from the day we bought it at Fred Meyer! I cannot express how much I have always wanted a big box fan in the village.
July 3, 2012- It was one of the few warm, nasty rainy days I experienced in Fairbanks. It was also my last day (Joey went to Anchorage with Mason the day before). Between my classes, I got the last of our belongings together, including the box fan, and checked out of the room. I put it back in it’s original box, taped it up, and took a regular piece of copy paper from the RA to use as an address label. On the way to the Post Office, the box fan and I learned that Andy Griffith died. In the parking lot, I wrote my address rather large on the paper, and taped it to the box, making sure that the entire paper was covered by the clear packaging tape (so it wouldn’t be messed up or smeared by this or any future rain). The tape had trouble clinging to the box, but I was confident when I gave the box to the post master that I would see it again mid-August in the village.
August 14, 2012- We returned to the village, and immediately started looking for the fan to cool our stuffy house down. Usually the maintenance men put boxes in teacher’s houses, or on the stage in the school. We quickly noticed the box fan was not in our house, so we went over to the school. There were many different boxes there, a few with our names, but none in the slender blue and white box I so desperately wanted to see. I asked the office ladies, principals, and counselors, who had all been in the school varying times in the summer. All said they had not seen such a box. Freddy was still in Anchorage, so he sent me a new one. Meanwhile, I started to think up strange endings for my box fan…
1.) Perhaps the tape didn’t really stick. It ended up at the Anchorage airport without a label, the workers eventually just took it out of the box and used it.
2.) The fan made it to the school, someone didn’t see the label, took it out of the box, and used it.
3.) The zip code was misread and was sent to Point Lay. Hey, I’ve had boxes show up in villages 100 miles away, so it could have happened!
4.) The timing is way off, and the area is all wrong, but perhaps it went down in one of the many plane crashes of the summer. When Bush planes meet the USPS anything is possible.
5.) One day, while browsing the store, I noticed box fans just like mine were stacked on top of the freezers, I thought for a minute that maybe… no. How could anyone miss an 8.5 x 11 paper in the middle of the box?
My new fan shipped a la Freddy came, and I eventually forgot about the fan from Fairbanks.
Today, Joey and I went to the Post Office, because he received an email that our Christmas presents Kindle Fire HDs- had arrived and that we needed to pick them up. We also had to drop off our Christmas cards. I went to the window to pick up them up. The post mistress had something under the Kindles… she had our box fan from Fairbanks! Apparently, it had been sitting in the old hardware store all this time!
Nothing like a surprise box 5 months later! Merry Christmas from USPS!