There was a time when…

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Stop on your way home and pick up some milk.

I bet someone at your house has said that to someone else sometime in the last week. But there was a time when no one made that request. That’s because we had home milk delivery. The milkman would leave your order on the front step and in the winter, if it was cold enough, the milk would freeze and pop the top off the bottle. Yes the bottle, because milk did not come in plastic cartons.

When our family moved to the suburbs from the big city in the early 1960’s, our new house had a fancy little two way door compartment in the kitchen, which allowed the milkman to put the bottles inside and all we had to do was open the little door and voila, our milk had magically appeared. Or so it seemed to me when I was a kid.

We also had a bread man. He would come to the door with his big tray of baked goods – bread and yummy things like jellyrolls and coffee cakes. At our house we only got bread, never any of the other goodies as my mother did all of that baking at home. For some reason the bread man also had bags of candy. I remember that because one time a boy named Todd who lived nearby ran up to our house when the bread man was there and grabbed a bag of jelly beans. The bread man chasing Todd down the street caused quite a bit of excitement in the neighbourhood for the next few days.

Times change and when we look back it seems a little quaint that we had door-to-door service for something we now go get ourselves without a thought that it might be inconvenient. This month St. Albert becomes one of the first places in Canada to begin the shift to community mailboxes. Home mail delivery will be our future “there was a time when…”

There is a range of opinions about this change. People in apartment buildings or newer neighbourhoods who never had home delivery say, “What’s the big deal?” Others are worried about people with limited mobility being able to get to the new mailboxes. Lots of people just don’t like change period.

Sometimes the best way to handle change is to look for the opportunities change brings. In the switch to community mailboxes, people will now have to walk to get their mail. In an age when we all need to move more in our day, this is a good thing. Perhaps it will even get people to walk a little further than the two-minute trek to the mailbox. A 15- or 20-minute walk doesn’t seem so bad once you are already out the door anyway.

Change is inevitable, whether you like it or not. With enough time, we all make our peace with it. One day we will all be nostalgic about home mail delivery, just like milk delivery and bread delivery and all those other things that belonged back in another time.

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St. Albert Gazette

The St. Albert Gazette has been the source for news and community information in St. Albert and area since 1961. Today the twice-weekly full-colour tabloid delivers award-winning journalism in print, online and on mobile.