They took my post office down. Demolished it. Louisa’s store went with it. There’s nary a remnant left of what those places meant to us kids who grew up in Cape Cottage during the 1940s. Ann was the “forever” postmaster. When Ann Burke died at 95, no one replaced her. No one could have replaced her. So the post office just sat there on Shore Road where it had always been.

My mother and probably every other family in Cape Cottage had a post office box inside that tiny lobby. Ann had quite a collection of trinkets in her office behind the metal grille. I suppose most of the items were gifts from her many customers and friends.

We didn’t get much mail back then. Daddy was away in the Army and the important mail we got was from him. Ann knew all about running a busy post office, just like Louisa and Mr. Emery knew how to run their stores. Back then, people knew what they were doing and why they were doing it. Think about that statement for a minute.

There were no ZIP codes in those days. I don’t recall when the 04107 sign went up on the post office. I do remember my mother getting mail simply addressed to “Mrs. Joseph Horne, Cape Cottage, Maine.”

Our quirky apartment in Charlie Farr’s house was just steps away from the post office and Louisa’s and Mr. Emery’s stores. I loved the way Mr. Emery’s store smelled. The scent was just like my grandmother’s attic. He sold cigars and sundries, whatever they were.

Mr. Emery also had a lending library. Mama liked to read, and I think she was his No. 1 patron. My father called the lending library “Ginny’s Murder and Romance Room.” Daddy thought that Mr. Emery found my mother most attractive. My mother said that was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard!

We kids had to pass by the post office, Louisa’s and Mr. Emery’s in order to get to The Beach. That was our main summer attraction. There are a couple of names for The Beach. If you are a local, you may call it “Casino Beach” or “Cape Cottage Beach.” If you’re not a local, you won’t be calling it anything, because it is, ahem, a private beach. I guess it was private back in the ’40s, too. We kids never paid much attention to that word, though.

Times change. Post offices are replaced by, well, I don’t know yet. 973 Shore Road is prime real estate. Affordable housing, maybe? Nah.

If you were lucky enough to be a Cape Cottage kid in the ’40s, you knew what it was like to grow up by a beautiful beach, an ice cream parlor and an honest-to-goodness military base. You learned how to catch fireflies and how to avoid getting sticker burrs in your hair, well, most of the time. You could say that everything we kids loved or needed was right in our own neighborhood. Even a post office.

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