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Recently a classmate posted on Facebook that the Brown Bookstore was selling the Faunce House Post Office boxes as piggy banks. You could even request your old number.

finally.jpg
Since graduating in 1985, I’ve often dreamed about my PO box. I wander an unfamiliar campus, realizing that tons of mail must have accumulated. Where is the PO, anyway?

That I still have these dreams says a lot about the importance of mail in those pre-Internet days. Checking the PO was a daily routine.

Through the tiny window in your box’s ornate door you might see only flimsy campus announcement slips, but occasionally you’d spy something substantial, spinning the twin dials to find—yes!—a handwritten letter or a colored card indicating a package waiting to be picked up. You’d get that dopamine blast that keeps gamblers gambling—the power of infrequent reward.

Back in the days when each minute of a long-distance phone call ran up your bill, letters from home were special. Seniors could learn their fate through that tiny portal: the formal envelope of a job offer or a grad school acceptance letter. Or a rejection letter, a cold blast of the reality outside the Van Wickle Gates.

Years later, on campus for reunion, I stopped by my old box and dialed “F–P.” The door swung open. I was home again.

Photograph by Erik Gould 

Editor's note: For more information about the mailboxes, do not call the Brown Bookstore. See a list of available mailboxes here or phone David Parry ’80 at 917.305.3201 for more information.





Comments (5)
07/23/13
 
As the alum whose company designed this memento and who is actually overseeing the mailbox project, I wanted to provide some information---especially since the Bookstore is being bombarded with calls. First, not all boxes are available. Some were never salvaged to begin with, and almost half that were salvaged have already been purchased. Second, to start the process please do not call the Bookstore but check out a listing of currently available boxes via the link below. 
http://www.scholarlyawards.com/blog/brown-university-mailbox-inventory/ 
Many alums whose boxes are no longer available are instead ordering random boxes.If you have any questions, please call me directly at 917-305-3201. Thanks
 
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08/13/13
 
It's hard to find a more loyal alum than me. Married a classmate, daughter attended, large number of family members as well.  
It's hard to find a more business-oriented alum than me. Retired professor at Kellogg.  
The process of ordering a mailbox was as onerous as I've ever seen. Customer unfriendly, hard to understand, required much tenacity to complete. 
 
The idea is wonderful, but don't ruin a wonderful program on the one-yard line with a hard-to navigate order process. The program is too good. AND BROWN IS TOO GOOD.
 
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08/16/13
 
I got my mailbox (ordering was relatively easy), and I LOVE it!! Thanks!
 
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08/17/13
 
Sad I missed out on mine, especially since it's in that picture. Hope whoever got 5493 treasures it.
 
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09/27/13
 
I ordered my original (4082) mailbox, but was disappointed to find on arrival that the glass pane was broken into three pieces. A screw holding the brass box number brace in position was loose, allowing the glass to slip out of place and break. I was able to super-glue the three pieces together, and put the thing back together, but the two cracks in the glass do not add any character to the item, since it didn't look that way when it was assigned to me. 
 
Buyer beware: my mailbox bank did NOT come with the combination!! I remembered mine (C-S) and it worked, but a buyer who could not recall the combination would have been left high and dry.
 
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