Thursday, April 9, 2009

the mailbox

the following is an article a friend passed on about a rusty, beach mailbox in wrightsville beach that holds so much value. next time i'm at wrightsville, my goal is to stop by & add my own little sentiments to the book. what a great idea!!
"Park at Beach Access No. 2 and walk north, toward Mason Inlet. If you follow the wildlife preserve fence to the bend, you’ll come to a very special set of stairs. They are just enough to seat two people, and are flanked by a driftwood Christmas tree decorated with shells and beautiful things washed ashore.

Open the mailbox and pull out the little red notebook and some pens in a Ziploc bag, and start to read. That notebook holds the thoughts and prayers of more than 100 people. And now you are part of something uniquely Wrightsville Beach.

The steps, mailbox and notebook were the idea of residents Bernie and Sidney Nykanen. Bernie explains that just after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers moved the inlet to the north, he and his wife found six steps washed ashore. They dragged the steps to the end of the new beach and propped them up against the dune. It became their favorite destination.

On Easter Sunday in 2003, with the help of their two grandchildren, they added the mailbox and notebook.

“The rest is kind of history,” Bernie explains. “It just has caught on really quickly. It is 794 steps and 3,300 feet from the parking lot at Beach Access No. 2 to the mailbox, and by the time you get there, you’re grateful the steps are there. It’s a wonderful place to sit and reflect.”
The reflection has been prolific. Six years and 59 journals later, thousands have journeyed to the mailbox to share their thoughts about every topic imaginable.

Some notes resemble ones you would pass in grade school: “I like cheese! Do you? Circle Yes or No.”

Some honor people who are away: “I wish I could celebrate your 21st birthday with you, but you are here in my heart. Do a neat dance for me!”

Some appreciate life: “I lived here my whole life. I wouldn’t want to be nowhere else. I love this place.”

Some celebrate: “Snow day in Wilmington!” “Yay for no afternoon classes!”

Some quote favorite songs: “Open your eyes, and look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re livin’?” (Bob Marley)

Some pose questions to the universe: “Will I marry Jack?”

The journal holds stories of love. “I’m getting to know a beautiful girl.”

And there are secrets: “When I was in high school, I peed in my pants on a ski slope to keep warm.”

“It’s just a way for people to put their feelings down and express their gratitude,” Sydney said.
Bernie expanded, “The thoughts and ideas people have are so interesting. … It’s kind of a magical place.”

It has even been the site of three marriage proposals, a handful of weddings, and even a funeral.
“There’ve been notes from Alaska, Australia and France,” Sydney said. “People from all over the world are coming to our little mailbox.”

“For me,” one anonymous contributor reveals, “it puts my life in perspective … it makes my troubles seem insignificantwhen you readthe passages from anonymous souls from all over the country. … I truly believewhen I leave a thought or wish there that the universe can hear it.”

“As humans we just have a natural desire to express ourselves and to share our life experience with others. And, what’s special about the notepad in the mailbox is that it’s a safe and non-judgmental outlet,” writes Dr. Simone Nguyen, an associate professor in the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) department of psychology. “The notepad doesn’t disapprove or talk back, it just accepts whatever you write, and you get to leave anything you share behind.” Bill Atwill, associate professor of English and associate director of the honors scholars program at UNCW, said, “Journals like this have been left by climbers and hikers as a way of marking their presence at that notable summit or waypoint while connecting with all those who’ve come before or might follow afterward.”

If you choose to take this journey to read what others have left and leave thoughts of your own, you’ve passed the hope forward and you’ve left a little piece of yourself. From one family’s simple idea and love for Wrightsville Beach comes one of this town’s iconic experiences.
As one visitor from Michigan writes, “Know how lucky you are. I love this place.”

**article taken from lumina news out of wrightsville beach, nc**


NatureGirl said...

Thank you for sharing such a neat thing...

Lynne said...

Oh, I'd love to go there and add a note too!

Elena Drayer said...

I love the mailbox! My mother is the one who placed it there with my step-father. She is a local artist and has her own online gallery at:

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend and I found this place this past week while visiting Wrightsville. How special it was to share a bit of our story - falling in love again after being apart 25 years.
I did wonder what happens to all the journals? I'm surprised that Nicholas Sparks hasn't included it in one of his books yet. Of course, that may ruin the sacredness of the mailbox as so many go to seek it.
As I visit WB often, I will always check the mailbox from now on!